UCSB’s lights went out for the second time this school year on Sunday after several of Edison Electric’s cable lines on campus failed.
All electricity on campus was lost at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday after several old underground cables, which were laid prior to the land’s conversion from a Marine air base to a university in 1953, failed, said an Edison foreman who asked that his name not be printed. The problem cables were spliced and temporarily repaired Sunday night, but will have to be completely replaced later this month, he said.
About 90 percent of campus regained power by 2:30 p.m.; however, the Storke Communications Building, San Rafael residence hall and Manzanita Village were without power until about 3 p.m. The traffic lights at the intersection of Ocean and El Colegio Roads regained power at about 3 p.m. but were not fully functional at press time.
Alina Pavlovsky, an employee of the Jamba Juice in the UCen, said the blackout effectively shut down business on what was an already slow day.
“When it went out, I was blending a smoothie and, boom, the power goes out. The emergency lights came on, but since we close at four anyway, there’s no point in staying open without power.”
Pavolvsky’s co-worker Josie Mercado agreed.
“Sales were really bad today, anyway,” she said.
The power outage did not stop some intrepid students from studying in the UCen during the first weekend of Winter Quarter. Joey Lau, an undeclared freshman, read from her Asian American studies reader despite a blackout-induced, high-pitched buzzing noise emitting from the UCSB Bookstore.
“I’ve been in here for half an hour,” she said. “It’s kind of distracting.”
The blackout also stymied activity in the library, which had to stop operations until the lights returned. Andrew Slocombe, who works at the library’s circulation desk, said the building was reduced to using only emergency lighting.
“Everywhere’s just dimly lit right now,” he said at about 2 p.m.
Both dining commons lost all power during the 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. brunch. Ortega Dining Commons was nearly full at 12:30 when it lost power and the people already seated had to finish eating without lights. The dining commons had to keep nearly 400 students waiting for about ten minutes while cold food was prepared because cooked meals could not be served or prepared without electricity.
Carrillo Dining Commons also had to stop serving meals during the blackout, and the students who entered prior to the blackout received only a portion of the originally planned menu, Carrillo Dining Commons cook Rick Usher said. The commons was unable to provide service to students wishing to eat during the 90-minute blackout because the kitchen had to shut down. During the blackout the Carrillo dining area was lit by a backup generator; however, overhead fans for the ovens were not run by the generator, causing the kitchen to fill with smoke and steam, Usher said.
Campus residence halls also lost all power during that time. Power resumed in the residence halls at about 2:30 p.m. when power was restored to most of campus.