Power outages at SEMO had different causes, official says

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two power outages at Southeast Missouri State University that occurred weeks apart are not related, officials said Monday.

"It's two totally separate instances," said Angela Meyer, interim director of facilities management.

A campuswide power outage that occurred just after 2 a.m. Sunday was caused by a failed switch that distributes power at the Show Me Center, she said. Power was restored to campus about three hours later, after university employees replaced blown fuses.

The university experienced a two-day power outage earlier this month caused by the failure of a 29-year-old transformer. Southeast lost power at about 3:45 a.m. Nov. 7. Power was restored by Nov. 9 when the transformer was replaced with a refurbished piece of equipment from AmerenUE.

Meyer said the causes of the outages are examples of needed infrastructure repairs. Because funding is tight, repairs and upgrades are not done as often as needed, she said.

"We have infrastructure across campus that has not been addressed in years," she said.

She said the university is looking into buying more backup generators. The university's generators can currently power emergency lighting in every building, she said. In some buildings the generators also provide power to elevators and water pumps.

She said the university is testing the electrical feeders in the power system to check for other problems.

"We have to pick and choose what we can attack, and it may not be what causes the failure next time," she said.

abusch@semissourian.com

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