Last month the campus experienced two power outages, one briefly during the day in early October and a longer one at night on Oct. 17. Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management John Shupe said that both outages were related to their provider, Central Hudson.
The first outage was caused by an issue in Central Hudson’s system and the second was the result of a major transformer burning up. Fortunately, in the past 15 years Facilities Management has proactively installed back-up generators in almost every building in order to keep the buildings lit and heated.
“They’re really designed to keep the buildings lit, somewhat, and heated because you don’t want the worst problem to have, a building that freezes; when it’s really dead of winter and it’s below zero and you lose power for a number of hours you don’t want to see frozen pipes in the building,” Shupe said. “It’s basic emergency power.”
Shupe said that the relationship with Central Hudson is solid and they have direct contact with the local area representative if the campus ever has an issue, although they elected not to make contact during the Oct. 17 outage. The Central Hudson website also has an outage map which provides information on what areas affected by outages and estimations regarding restoration time.
“If you look at it almost every day there’s an outage of some kind somewhere and it tells you how many customers are affected,” Shupe said. “We’re one customer, but we’re a big customer.”
About eight years ago, Central Hudson installed new dedicated electric lines directly from the high tension lines about two miles south of campus. For a cost of just below $12 million, Facilities Management completed phase two of this project and replaced all of the campus’ underground high voltage electrical system.
“It was one of those projects like you don’t see a new building going up but it’s a project that we’ve had some issues in our underground lines,” Shupe said. “They were 40-50 years old and it was time to replace them, so that’s what we did.”
According to Shupe, apart from the blips here and there, the improvements have led to a system that is very reliable and power outages are a rare occurrence.
The campus’ emergency response team is occupied 24 hours a day, seven days a week and everyone is immediately notified in the event of a power outage on campus via broadcast system.
“We know normally if it’s during the day, during work hours we’ll see that kind of issue,” Shupe said. “But in the evening, the emergency management team is notified within minutes of this happening and we have protocols to deal with it.”