Students thought the blackout that happened the night they started off their Spring 2008 semester would quickly be resolved since new generators were installed over the Winter break. But, they were left with no light or heat for several hours before the lights turned back on. So how come this didn’t happen sooner?
Hawk Hall Resident, Haley Knapper, recounted “it was completely dark. We couldn’t use our microwave, couldn’t use our fridge, couldn’t use anything!”
And Haley wasn’t the only one left in the dark. Besides Hawk Hall losing power on January 21st, so did the freshmen complexes, the Commons, and the entire academic side of campus.
According to Dave Isgur, Director of Media Relations, the circuit breaker that Connecticut Light & Power installed on the generators was not set at a high enough limit to be able to withstand a power surge like the one that happened that night. When the students arrived back on campus, the power they used to reheat this rooms and turn on their lights caused the circuit breaker to go over its limit, which in turned caused the blackout.
Isgur said CL&P came back to campus and reset the circuit breaker to a higher level to avoid the problem in the future.
But the circuit breaker wasn’t the only reason for the blackout. There was miscommunication between the University officials and CL&P.
“Our facilities people didn’t know that the company doing the inspection had turned the generators off,” Dave Isgur said.
This meant facilities had to manually turn on all the generators. It took more than two hours for the power was returned to students’ dorms.
University officials said the generators were in the final stages of being tested when students arrived back on campus, but they just didn’t have enough time to complete all the testing that was needed. Now, they have been fully tested and should kick on instantly if the situation arises again.
Haley and the rest of the residents in Hawk Hall can sleep well knowing that if the power goes out again, the University will be ready to handle it efficiently.
“I’m sure they will be ready for next time,” she said.