Campus tech prepares for short power interruptions

Campus buildings will briefly lose power at various times starting April 6 while facilities crews upgrade high-voltage electricity networks. The average user of Information and Educational Technology services might not notice any interruption.

The Network Operations Center, for instance, is due to lose electricity for about five minutes at 10:45 a.m. April 20. But its services should continue as usual, thanks to backup power systems, said Mark Redican, the center's director.

And the computer rooms will open as usual, said Tim Leamy, computer lab manager. "All the shutdowns in the computer rooms are between 6 a.m. and 7:55 a.m., [when] we are normally closed," he said. "We don't expect it to affect our services at all."

The computer rooms usually update some computers at that time of day, but the labs have rescheduled the work as needed so that the computers will be off by 6 a.m.

Facilities Operations and Management is upgrading campus high-voltage electrical distribution systems this month to accommodate increased campus power demands. Details, including a schedule of when buildings are due to lose power, are posted here.

The outages will affect 15-20 buildings at a time and take place over three weeks.

Being prepared for power outages is nothing unusual. All network electronics managed by the center are protected by uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, Redican said. Technicians from the center are inspecting all telecommunications closets in the affected areas, to verify that UPS systems in those buildings are operating normally.

"It is possible that a UPS will indicate that it is operating normally, but will still fail when commercial power is interrupted," Redican said. If that happens, the center's technicians plan to be r eady to respond quickly to restore service.

The facilities site also offers advice on what to do shortly before your building loses power--such as shut off fax machines, computers and other sensitive equipment--as well as during and after the outage.