Campus & community, Campus news

Campus expecting power loss Wednesday evening

By Public Affairs

Update: Classes will resume Thursday unless there is a power outage.

Marc Fisher, UC Berkeley’s vice chancellor for administration, and Alicia Johnson, director of Berkeley’s Office of Emergency Management, issued the following message to the campus community on Tuesday. It was updated at 5:14 p.m. Wednesday to reflect the latest information:

Most of the core UC Berkeley campus may lose power Wednesday evening, although the situation remains fluid and information from PG&E has not been clear.

The outage could last a number of days and is part of the utility’s plans to shut off power in most Bay Area counties over the next few days to guard against fire dangers that may accompany anticipated high winds.

More information and resources for students, staff and faculty are available at the bottom of this page.

Campus officials canceled classes on Wednesday. The campus, however, is open, though services will be limited.

A decision regarding the status of the campus on Thursday will be made by campus leaders later today and shared via email, Twitter and on Berkeley News.

All employees will be paid and most will not be required to come into work. We are encouraging managers to be flexible with all employees, especially those who may lose power at their homes or need to care for children who cannot go to school or daycare.

Critical employees will be expected to come in to work. Employees who are uncertain if they are a critical employee, or if they should report to work, should check with their dean or unit manager. Those who come to campus are encouraged to avoid using elevators.

Regarding classes on Thursday and Friday, campus officials will monitor the latest information from PG&E on Wednesday and will alert the campus community by mid-day Wednesday whether classes will be held the following day.

To ensure you are getting the latest campus alerts as quickly as possible, please sign up for text alerts from WarnMe: Updates and information geared to specific audiences will be posted on Berkeley News. UCPD’s dispatch center will remain fully operational during the outage.

The core campus is impacted by the PG&E shutoff of because our power lines are fed by transformers in the East Bay hills, which are under a Red Flag Alert for extreme wildfire danger starting Wednesday at 5 a.m.

Not all campus buildings will be without power because some are not on the core campus and consequently not receiving power from that impacted PG&E power line in the hills. Most residence halls and single student apartments are expected to lose power. A complete list can be found on the Student Affairs website.

Some buildings with life and public safety functions will have backup generator capacity and consequently will continue to have limited power. The campus CoGen plant is unlikely to be used during this outage. The plant, located near Haas Pavilion, must be disconnected from the grid during the outage and reconnected after power is restored. This takes 48 hours and requires significant manual work. Given the uncertain length of the outage and after careful consideration with experts, campus administrators feel turning on the plant is not a good use of resources at this time.

Early indicators are that the campus outage will last up to 48 hours, but we will monitor conditions and review campus actions as needed. Campus leaders are currently working to ensure appropriate accommodations for disabled students, appropriate gradual shut off for critical labs, and other measures. Because it is likely that elevator service will be intermittent, staff with mobility issues are encouraged not to come in to work.

Various campus units – including those working with labs, principal investigators, Intercollegiate Athletics – will receive additional messages about this matter with more specific information tailored to the planning needs for those units.

The Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses and Instruction will provide guidance and policies for course instructors to faculty to assist them in managing the disruption to classes.

Additional information: