College looking into cause of power disruption
A pull on Red Deer’s electrical power system by Red Deer College may have caused brief power interruptions to nearby businesses on Monday afternoon.
Shortly before 4 p.m., a power box failed outside Red Deer College’s new trades building and blew the college’s three backup generators.
The college’s computer servers, located in the trades building, were shut down to prevent any power spikes from corrupting computer data.
The computer network remained down on Tuesday, along with the college’s phone system that is connected to the network.
“Students are in class. Faculty are here. Power is on. The only thing they can’t do is access our network. There is no risk to anybody or anything,” said RDC president Joel Ward on Tuesday.
Jim Jorgensen, Electricity, Light and Power Department manager for the city, said there was an indication of a drop in power in the city at 3:58 p.m. on Monday.
Electricity users on the same feeder system that serves the college may have been impacted, he said.
For example, the Advocate’s power protection system was tripped when the power sagged and interrupted its internal electrical system before resetting itself.
Jorgensen said businesses with systems to protect equipment or machinery, rather than residents, were more likely to be affected, depending on protection settings.
The pull on power did not harm to the city’s power system, he said.
“Something was going on internal to the college and it started to drag the power level down and in turn their fuses let go, which is what’s supposed to happen.
Everything functioned the way it was suppose to,” Jorgensen said.
Ward said the power box that failed belongs to the college and connects the college to the city’s power grid.
“(A power box failure) happened to us once three years ago. Exactly the same thing. We’re going to fix it up and look for a different solution.”
The generators, that cost $9,000 each, were being replaced.
“We’ll investigate after we’re up and running to see exactly what was the cause and stop that from happening.”
The college alerted students about the outage through social media. Almost all classes ran on Tuesday.
Ward said about 1,800 college employees and 7,500 students are connected to the computer network, which was expected to be running again today.