UO prepares for brief, planned spring break power outages

The Central Power Station control center

UO Campus Planning and Facilities Management is preparing for an upcoming utility maintenance and testing project, which will entail short, staggered power outages in most buildings on the UO campus during spring break.

The project will take place on the mornings of Monday, March 23, and Tuesday, March 24.

The work involves necessary maintenance on several electrical feeder breakers that each power numerous buildings on campus. The project is critical for the continued safe operation of the campus electrical system.

The department also will be testing the university’s ability to self-power with the UO’s Central Power Station to ensure that equipment and systems perform as designed. This is needed and overdue preparation for a potential situation where the primary power source for campus is temporarily lost.

On Monday, March 23, most buildings on campus will experience rolling power outages lasting approximately 15 minutes, plus building restoration time where crews will ensure systems are successfully coming back on line.

The outages will occur sequentially, with the first feeder and the buildings it powers being shut off at 8 a.m. Maintenance on the feeder will be completed and the power restored before moving to the next feeder. The subsequent feeders will be shut off and powered back up on a schedule of one per hour until noon.   

For a detailed schedule and map of buildings affected, visit the power outage website.

At 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, the entire campus will shift from the primary EWEB power source to the backup generator system at the Central Power Station. This will test the station’s capabilities to provide power to vital university operations should the area experience a major power outage.

All power to campus will shut off for up to five minutes while the station powers up. Campus will be on generator power for no more than 15 minutes. During the testing, however, electrical power to campus may be lost if a portion of the system does not perform as expected.

Understanding that this necessary utility work would affect many on campus, planners worked closely with senior campus leaders and facilities liaisons to find dates and times that would minimize disruptions as much as possible.

Members of the campus community should think about how the outages might affect them or sensitive equipment and work with their supervisors or department heads to take necessary precautions.

For some, this may mean powering down sensitive equipment in advance of scheduled outages or taking additional steps.

Safety and Risk Services has launched a survey to help assess potential effects on campus operations and for individuals to request planning assistance.

Updates will be available on Around the O and posted on the spring break shutdown page. For additional questions about the outage, please contact work control at workcontrolcenter@uoregon.edu or 541-346-2319.