Yale’s central campus was hit with a power outage on Monday morning, shutting off lights and Internet access in academic and residential buildings for almost an hour.
The outage began around 10:25 a.m. and affected campus buildings from Timothy Dwight College to Sterling Memorial Library. Buildings on Science Hill, including the Watson Center, were also affected. Evans Hall, which houses the School of Management on Whitney Avenue, was evacuated, and students gathered outdoors while alarms sounded inside. The outage shut off power in all 12 residential colleges, as well as in the Yale Health building. Power returned around 11:20 a.m.
According to a campuswide Yale Alert sent at 11 a.m., the power outage was the result of a failure at the University’s central power plant. A Yale Facilities employee on the Facilities Emergency Request Hotline said Monday night that the cause of the failure was still unknown and that Yale Facilities was still investigating. An email update regarding the outage will likely be sent to the campus community once the cause is discovered, the employee said.
The outage only affected campus buildings powered by the central power plant. Buildings powered by the electric public-utility company United Illuminating were not affected, according to the Yale Alert message. Non-Yale-affiliated buildings near central campus saw no loss of power, and several business and shops along Wall Street were unaffected. Emergency backup power came on in many buildings that did lose power.
Yale Dining services were largely unaffected, although Commons Dining Hall opened 15 minutes late. The New Haven Fire Department arrived at Commons because an elevator there lost power during the outage and became immobile, a NHFD member told the News.
Students were affected differently by the brief loss of electricity. Mechanical engineering major Victoria Ereskina ’18 said she had fortunately backed up all her work on her computer before the campus lost power. But graduate students in the School of Architecture were less lucky, she said, and some found their work compromised by the outage.
Architecture major Julia Medina ’18 was working in Paul Rudolph Hall when the lights went out. She was about to use the laser cutter on the seventh floor to cut a sheet of Plexiglas for a project when she discovered the cutter did not have power. Although Medina said her work was not affected in a major way, she added that many architecture students who had been printing large models using 3-D printing equipment were less fortunate. 3-D printing is expensive and time-consuming, and projects that were mid-print during the outage would have to be started over again, she said.
In a post on the popular Facebook group “Overheard at Yale,” Ereskina said the power outage, which came in the midst of midterms, had caused several architecture students to lose projects they had been working on for 24 hours.
“[The outage] reminded us of how vulnerable we all are without electricity,” Ereskina told the News.
Correction, March 8: A previous version of this article misidentified one of the buildings that lost power. In fact, it was the Watson Center.