Partial campus blackout greets returning students

Maria Brachelli

University resident students in the West campus apartments and some students on Main campus were welcomed back to campus with a power outage at approximately 9:30 p.m. this past Saturday, Jan. 10.

PECO Energy supplies the electricity for the University through two main feeders.

Administrators at PECO are unsure of why exactly the outage occurred.

If the feeders fail, the back-up emergency generator system automatically should provide power. The generators assume responsibility for lighting exit areas and other areas where electricity is necessary, such as the testing facilities in Mendel Hall.

“All the dorms should have been powered by the emergency generators, the emergency circuits,” Robert Morro, executive director of Facilities Management, said.

“However, when that didn’t work, we had to manually change to the second feeder.”

Junior William Murray, a Welsh resident, said, “It didn’t really affect me at all, it wasn’t that big of a deal.”

Other students found their plans of moving back in to their residences or visiting friends disrupted.

“The power went out as I was walking from Welsh to Klekotka to see some friends,” junior Peg Greene said. “I was kind of scared at first because everything was completely dark; thankfully I wasn’t alone. When I got there, the power was out for a long time which made the night interesting.”

Greene added, “I still wanted to know what happened.”

Morro was able to offer no definitive explanation of why the generator did not automatically work, but he presumes it was due to the excessive cold weather the area has been experiencing recently.

The power resumed in all areas of campus between 11 p.m. and midnight.