UR experienced a temporary blackout Wednesday afternoon, which affected all buildings on the River Campus and UR Medical Center, as well as some surrounding properties.
A Rochester Gas ‘ Electric transformer malfunctioned at approximately 4:10 p.m. at a substation near the central utilities plant; it was the primary electric connection to the University.
Electricity at the Med Center and Strong Memorial Hospital was immediately supported by a backup generator, preventing complications with patient care and other operations. Power was restored at most River Campus buildings within 35 minutes, though individual systems came back online at various times.
Director of Security Walter Mauldin explained that, in some cases, this variability was due to different safety mechanisms, and some systems had switches that had to be manually reset. In-house Facilities technicians were largely responsible for performing such checks before safely restoring power to individual buildings.
One of the last buildings to be brought back online was Wilson Commons, most of which was without electricity excluding emergency lights for roughly two hours. Assistant Director of Student Activities Laura Ballou understood that students would be inconvenienced by the outage in the main student hub but was satisfied with the eventual outcome. Ballou commented on the ordeal.
‘I think, in general, the students were confused but patient,” she said. ‘It didn’t hurt any programs, and we didn’t have to make any cancellations. We were actually able to get power back just before the Tiernan Project spaghetti dinner.”
According to Mauldin, there were no reports of River Campus injuries subsequent to the blackouts, though some individuals were briefly stuck in elevators. They were freed after using elevator phones that connect directly to UR Security, as these and all University phones remained operational.
RG’E officials have said that they do not yet know the cause of the initial failure.
Cutshall is a member of
the class of 2009.