13 years ago
Cristen Perkowski

Eighteen-hundred pounds of cable later, feeder lines one and two have been replaced, restoring perpetual power to campus.

The administration reached its goal of having the power lines replaced by the end of the month when the power lines were synchronized and running Sept. 1.

But to their chagrin, the repairs came with a few hiccups.

After shutting down power for 36 hours – 12 hours more than needed – over the weekend, delays occurred Aug. 30 after additional parts needed replacement and the pulley feeding cables through the conduits broke.

“We upgraded power equipment that needed to (be upgraded) while the power was down,” said Jay Reimer, associate vice president for finance.

The contractors and administration hoped to have power up and running again by 6 a.m., Aug. 30, but power wasn’t restored until after 11 a.m. in many buildings, cancelling classes and closing buildings.

Generators were rented to provide power in case of a main power line failure during the repair process, but they were not attached during the shutdown Aug. 30.

“It would have taken about as much time to attach the generators (as make the repairs). It’s not as simple as turning on a switch,” Reimer said.

He added the same workers needed to repair the lines would have had to spend the time hooking up the generators instead – taking anywhere from 20-40 minutes to attach each generator.

“(I want everyone to know) how much we regret inconvenience caused to the staff and students, especially with canceling classes,” Reimer said. “Safety was our first priority in this, and we didn’t want to rush.”

Reimer said the most frustrating aspect of the power shutdown was not being able to communicate with the campus.

“In retrospect, if I had to do this over again, last week I would have asked everyone to please check the web site before coming to work,” Reimer said.

But the outcome of all this will be annual checks to the power cables and the purchase of emergency generators for the computer servers.

President Franklyn Jenifer requested a $12,500 survey of UTD’s power grid, and the results will be available later in the semester, Reimer said.

“Over time, it will mean further improvement of the electrical infrastructure on campus,” Reimer said.

The first improvement will be the replacement of the feeder line connected to the School of Management.

The line was found to be faulty, but Reimer said he thinks the cable is still under warranty. It will be replaced later this semester.

The initial power outage Aug. 12 was believed to be caused by arching – which resulted in a short – caused by a pen-cap-size hole in the power line.