ETHAN KLAPPER / THE EAGLE
A malfunction in a Pepco electrical feeder to several power sources at AU may have caused many students to change their plans Wednesday night and this morning between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., according to a representative from Pepco and an e-mail from the Office of Information Technology sent to the AU community on Wednesday.
All three residence halls on the North Side of campus, as well as Mary Graydon Center, Butler Pavilion, McKinley Building, the sports complex, Asbury Building, the president’s office building and Osborn Building will be without power or access to the EagleNet network, according to the e-mail.
According to Clay Anderson, the senior media representative from Pepco, the problem started on Nov. 29 when a contractor cut into a cable and knocked out the power to one of the three electrical feeders that supply AU with electricity. Pepco then repaired the problem temporarily but now needs to repair it permanently. The process of repairing this problem is a time-consuming job, according to Anderson.
After Pepco makes repairs on its equipment, AU will have its own work to do, according to Anderson.
“[Pepco] will finish [its] work by midnight, but the university has hired contractors to make whatever repairs they need to do on their system, on their end of this,” Anderson said.
Sean McGrath, a resident director for Hughes and Nebraska Halls, said Facilities Management told him Pepco had been working on a 13,000-volt electrical feeder, and the system had been damaged when Pepco was inspecting it.
McGrath said Pepco requested this problem be fixed immediately, before it caused any further problems with the electricity on AU’s campus. Pepco originally wanted to work on the problem on Tuesday night, but Facilities Management and OIT wanted to give students at least 24 hours notice prior to shutting down power in these buildings, according to McGrath.
The times suggested in the e-mail said power would be out for eight hours overnight from Wednesday into Thursday. At the time of publication, McGrath said this time frame might just be an estimate of how long it would take for Pepco and AU electricians to resolve the problem.
Some AU students said they are still upset that they did not receive enough notice to plan for this outage of the networks or the power.
Zoya Volpe, a junior in the School of Public Affairs, said she just got the e-mail regarding the outage today and was not able to easily make alternative plans.
“At least give us more warning,” Volpe said.
Carlos Cruz, a junior in SPA, said he is worried that the library would be extremely busy because finals are approaching next week.
“The library is going to be ridiculously crowded tonight,” Cruz said. “They could have given us more of a heads up.”
The timing was based on students’ schedules, according to McGrath.
“It’s not during a time that students will be incredibly inconvenienced,” McGrath said.
Students like Ashley Zielinski, a sophomore in the School of International Service, did not think this was the right time to schedule a power outage.
“I think it was a really inconvenient time for them to schedule it,” Zielinski said. “A lot of people have finals tomorrow.”
This outage could be better than what might happen if this problem just went on without being addressed, according to McGrath.
“Its dangerous. That’s a 13,000 volt feeder,” he said. “That could put us out for a longer time [than one night].”
According to the e-mail from OIT, the networks would be restored once the power was turned on.
Marisa Kendall contributed to this report.