Power Plant loses steam

The electricity in the heat and power plant was knocked out during routine maintenance on the building’s electrical system at 10:30 a.m. today, Nov. 3. This caused the steam pressure, which powers the generators and heats all the buildings around campus, to drop precipitously.

The university’s power requirements were picked up by the Golden Valley Association, so there was no noticeable interruption of electricity. The boilers, which generate the steam, went out around 10:30 a.m. and by 11 a.m. they were warming back up, according to Scott Bell, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Services.

“We’re not sure why [the electricity] tripped,” Bell said. “When I last spoke to people about this around 11:30 they didn’t know exactly why it tripped, but it’s high on the list of things to figure out today.”

At noon, students living on campus were sent an email from Residence Life stating that the steam was off-line and students should try to conserve heat by keeping doors and windows closed for a few hours. A follow-up email was sent at 2:37 p.m. stating that the steam was back online.

At about 1 p.m. facilities started slowly sending steam back to campus. It takes time for the steam entire system to return to its full capacity. The heat, and probably the electricity, should be fully functional by at least 5 p.m., according to Bell.

The campus loses steam every two to three years, however, once the new boiler and turbine are finished, the probability of an incident occurring will be much lower, according to Bell.

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