Power outage hits Kent, KSU

Meranda Watling

Yesterday’s power outage was caused by a problem with the Ohio Edison power supply, not the campus power plant, said Michael McDonald, director of Campus Environment and Operations.

The outage, which lasted from 9:52 to 10:04 a.m., affected not only Kent State but also “a couple thousand folks in Kent,” First Energy spokesman Mark Rubin said.

“The main feed to campus (from high voltage power lines) went out completely,” McDonald said. “It affected campus and other areas that fed off this line.”

One of the power lines that feeds from the high voltage power lines near the Kent substation on West Main Street came down and hit another line, Rubin said. That tripped a safety feature, which opened the line up and stopped the power flow. The line automatically reclosed after a “momentary outage.”

“We think a power outage is incredibly inconvenient,” McDonald said. “We’ve had two in a few weeks, this is very troublesome for us.”

The library had to be completely evacuated, Dining Services had to shut down fryers and grills across campus and classes were interrupted or canceled.

Sophomore geology major Steve Maliszeski said it was distracting because the alarm went off for 10 minutes while the professor continued to teach.

“It hinders learning because we don’t get all the material the way it was meant to be presented,” he said.

Ohio Edison was “fully responsible for the outage,” said Bob McCleery, manager of the power plant at Kent State.

“From the Kent State power distribution level, there is nothing we could have done,” McCleery said.

To help prevent future campus outages, the university is in the last phase of a two-year project to make it less reliant on outside power sources, McDonald said.

“The outage we experienced today and back in March was because of interruptions in the main feed from Ohio Edison,” McDonald said. “It was out of our control. However, efforts we’re taking in May should make us less vulnerable.”

The project is expected to be finished in May after a campus-wide planned power outage. McCleery said after it’s finished, if the Ohio Edison power fails, the campus will not be affected.

“It’s called islanding. If the power goes out off campus, we can still generate enough power for the campus,” he said.

Building and grounds reporter William Schertz contributed to this story.

Contact technology reporter Meranda Watling at [email protected].