Power has been restored to all but three buildings on the UC Berkeley campus after a blackout on Thursday. Etcheverry Hall, North Gate Hall and Soda Hall were still out of power Friday afternoon.
At 5 p.m. Thursday, one of the university’s five electrical switching stations failed, causing a campus-wide outage, said Sandy Yang at the university’s Public Affairs Office.
“So far we think it’s a water intrusion in an underground switching station near the Haas Business School,” Yang said.
No injuries were reported, though several people were trapped in elevators, according to a press release issued by the university. They were cleared within two hours.
Eighty percent of the buildings had their power restored by midnight Thursday, but several residence halls and other buildings did not have their power restored until 1:38 p.m. Friday.
About 3,500 students living on campus made it through the night with the help of back-up generators and flashlights. Students in Bowles Hall, which did not have a back-up generator, were moved to other facilities.
Alex Reese, who lives in one of the Foothill Dormitories on Hearst Street, said it was lucky she did not have to study Thursday night. But while she did not have to go to class Friday morning, she did have to shower.
“There was no hot water, so it was very cold. Everyone was hunting for other places to take showers,” she said.
The dining halls were open, but they had to stick to fruit and bagels for breakfast, sandwiches and lukewarm lemonade for lunch.
But the blackout did have a more serious impact on students’ lab experiments. Alicia Cohn, Sarah Brownell and Laura McLaughlin were running an experiment in Etcheverry Hall that required a UV lamp.
“I guess we’re not running it anymore,” said Cohn.
They had been conducting their experiment since April, so one day’s loss of data did not severely set back their project.
But Brownell said it was ironic that they had to take their weekly lunchtime meeting outside Friday.
Their renewable energy lab actually has solar panels so it could theoretically generate electricity when conventional electricity is not available.
“But we have no windows,” said Brownell. “We have to turn on the overhead light to get them to work.”
The power outage was good news for one group, however. Friday was the deadline for applications to the undergraduate program at the Hass School of Business. Procrastinators now have until Monday.