Power outage in U medical buildings handled promptly

Clocks in Moos Tower and Weaver-Densford Hall ran behind an hour and a half Wednesday after an independent contractor mistakenly knocked out power to the medical buildings a few minutes before 1 p.m.
“There’s a potential for a lot of damage,” said Brad Jacobsen, an operator technician for Facilities Management, adding that costs of a blackout can run high.
However, Jacobsen said the department had no reports of serious problems. Facilities Management employees continued what they called a routine cleanup through Wednesday evening, resetting steam valves, fans and freezers that malfunctioned because of the lack of power.
Employees and students throughout Moos Tower and Weaver-Densford Hall experienced flickering lights as emergency generators kicked in to deliver reserve energy.
The limited supply of auxiliary power kept a few floors in the area in the dark, Jacobsen said. Critical areas remained lit during the outage, but the need to conserve back-up energy completely blacked out a number of departments, including Parking and Transportation Services, which is located in the Washington Avenue Parking Ramp attached to the Transportation and Safety Building. Full power was restored to the ramp and building at 2:46 p.m.
Power outages at the University are fairly common and can range from energy loss in a single building to a campus-wide shut down, said Jacobsen, who has handled eight incidents since he began working for the University a year ago.
He said a number of things can disrupt the University’s power supply. Storms, a problem at the power company and squirrels that chew through cables are the most common causes.
“It wasn’t a squirrel this time,” he added.

— Melanie Evans