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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Campus

Power outage turns up heat on campus


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Doors propped open by chairs has been the tell-tale sign of no air conditioning in busy buildings like the University Center Satellite as the campus recuperates from power outages caused by lightning. | Justin Tijerina/The Daily Cougar

Although power has been fully restored to campus after being swept by a power outage Monday morning, some students still have to deal with the unpleasant lack of air conditioning as repairs are being made.

According to a UH press release, two campus main electrical feeders, identified as Cougar 1 and Cougar 3, were affected by a lightning strike, causing the majority of campus to experience a momentary electrical outage.

“A lot of students were complaining about the power being out,” said English senior Kathryn Diaz, who lives in Cougar Village 1. “When I asked around, I found out that it had gone off really early and other buildings had issues. I found it strange that we received no notification about it.”

The Facilities Management electrical team began repairs to Cougar 1 on Monday. Once the repairs are completed, the team will work to balance the distribution of the electrical load across campus and discuss repairs for the Cougar 3 feeder.

According to the University, the repairs on Cougar 3 may require a planned outage, which will be scheduled at a time that will minimize any inconveniences across campus.

But electricity being fully functional again does not mean the air conditioning is working in every building.

“As repairs continue to be made, we are keeping our Central Plant equipment load very low so we can have power to the campus and not take risks with tripping or overwhelming the current feeder,” said Richard Bonnin, interim associate vice president for marketing and communication.

Buildings will continue to be pre-cooled to avoid any further issues until power problems have been resolved, Bonnin said.

Students have noticed that busy areas, such as the University Center Satellite and Philip Guthrie Hoffman Hall, have been experiencing higher temperatures.

“It’s made work a lot harder,” said Dulce Trovar, who works at the Starbucks in the Satellite. “Most of our syrups have melted, so drinks don’t come out right. We’ve been getting a lot of complaints.”

Still, some students, like geology junior Franco Perez, are enjoying the warmer conditions as a welcome change from the usually freezing rooms on campus because they feel “being warm is better than being cold.”

The campus will be informed of the scheduled time to realign the campus electrical load and will be notified when the repair and testing is complete.

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