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Planned power outage on St. John's campus concludes

By Mandy Cook

A planned power outage on the St. John's campus from July 6-10 concluded successfully.

Memorial's Facilities Management team completed major infrastructure upgrades to the main campus' electrical systems during the five days, which required a campus-wide electrical outage.

"The successful completion of this amount of work is strategic in that it has resulted in very robust, looped electrical systems," said Darrell Miles, director, Facilities Management. "In turn, this will enable future repair work to be carried out in the area of the residences on the south side of campus without shutting down the power. As well, the power supply to the new residence is no longer on temporary power and has been transitioned to permanent power."

Mr. Miles also noted that the major power supply between the main substation on the south side of campus and the north side of campus has also been replaced.

On Friday, July 6, at 6 p.m. power was turned off across campus. However, a number of buildings had backup power systems to maintain critical systems in those buildings, such as the Bruneau Centre and the Biotechnology building; the Paton College and Burton's Pond residence complex ran on emergency power but had partial power enough to allow the buildings to be occupied and used. The outage did not affect the Health Sciences Centre.

Throughout the outage, university community members had access to their Memorial email accounts via handheld devices as well as their home computers. However, most remote access to users' files was unavailable, except for those users with access to a virtual private network.

Throughout the weekend and despite torrential rain at times, work progressed around the clock to replace several power distribution cables. Thanks to the efficient replacement of major cables, Facilities Management staff was able to restore permanent primary power to the residence complex by late Sunday evening, eliminating the need for generator power. This was accomplished after an approximate five-hour power outage, which was co-ordinated with and communicated to the affected residents with Memorial's Housing personnel.

By 10 p.m. on Monday, July 9, campus-wide primary power was restored to all facilities. Facilities Management crews continued to work throughout the night to ensure all systems were up and running.

Prior to the planned outage, relevant information – such as the cancellation of classes on Monday, July 9, and the relocation of scheduled distance exams July 6-7 – was communicated to students, faculty and staff via a number of communication vehicles. Such information and regular updates were available on a power outage-dedicated webpage on the Memorial main page,, as well as Newsline, Studentline,, Twitter (@MemorialU) and Facebook.