Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Squirrel in transformer disrupts power across campus

Electrical and cooling systems for university buildings were back to normal Wednesday after being briefly disrupted Tuesday evening when a squirrel short-circuited a major transformer at the Central Power Plant.

The outage occurred about 6 p.m., said Diane Brown, public information officer for the  Department of Public Safety.

Most buildings and parking structures on Central Campus and some on the medical campus were affected for varying lengths of time, generally between two and 10 minutes, Brown said. Some buildings — notably the School of Education Building — experienced subsequent problems, such as blown fuses, as power was restored, keeping them dark for longer periods.

“The Central Power Plant staff worked diligently to restore utilities and correct any resulting problems,” Brown said.

While an outage of this magnitude is unusual for such a large area of the university, it’s not uncommon for buildings to sometimes experience brief “power bumps” for various reasons, she said.