Frequently asked questions about the campus power outage

UC Berkeley campus is largely without power today, Friday, Oct. 11, due to PG&E’s efforts to prevent wildfires fanned by high winds.  The following FAQ provides answers to some of the key questions being asked about classes, facilities, emergency communications and the campus’s power supply.

The latest updates on the situation, along with resources for students, researchers and staff, can be found on the Berkeley News homepage.

When are classes and campus operations likely to resume?

Classes and campus operations will resume once PG&E restores power service to the campus. PG&E has told campus officials that it will begin restoring power today, but we do not know exactly when the power will be fully restored. Members of the campus community should watch for WarnMe/Nixle messages and the monitor Berkeley News for the latest updates.

How will we make up for the lost days of instruction?

We are looking into using some of the days during the Reading, Review and Recitation week as well as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to make up for the lost days of instruction. This decision will be made in consultation with the Academic Senate.

The lights are on. Why can’t I do my work?

The campus is operating on very limited backup power from portable generators and our cogeneration plant, which supplies the campus with steam heat and electricity. The cogeneration plant does not have sufficient capacity to fully power campus. What little power we have must be used for life-safety needs and to preserve critical research infrastructure.

But I see activity in the building. Why can’t I get in?

You may see some employees briefly enter buildings to complete important activities like removing perishable supplies. This does not mean there is general access to the building. 

How do I identify and find contact information for my building manager?

Contact your dean, department chair or department manager, or send an email to

Can we use the buildings that have generator power and do not rely on power from the cogeneration plant?

No campus buildings should be occupied. Generator power is limited to life-safety and critical research infrastructure needs.

What about outlying buildings such as the Clark Kerr campus, the Fourth Street building and the Golden Bear Building, which houses University Development and Alumni Relations, and the UC Berkeley Extension offices? Can we use them?

These buildings are not on cogeneration power, are receiving PG&E power and may be occupied.

I’m a researcher with high-powered computing needs. Can I use my own research computing cluster or the campus’s centralized Savio cluster?

Don’t use either. We are in the process of shutting down the research computing cluster. It will be operational again once power is restored. Please email for alternative options and support during the outage.

Should we be planning to move valuable research samples?

Not at this time. Please contact if you have specific concerns.

Is the cogeneration plant likely to shut off during the power outage?

As long as we keep the load at a low level, the cogeneration plant should remain operational. This is why it is critical that we reduce power use on campus.

I have not received texts via the WarnMe system. How do I sign up?

Anyone with a UC Berkeley email is automatically enrolled in the WarnMe system and will receive email alerts. Visit to link your mobile phone so that you will receive text messages, if you wish. Alternatively, text 94720 to 888777 to connect your mobile phone to the WarnMe system.

Are we developing a plan for potential future outages through the end of fire season?

We have learned a lot from this experience and will be better prepared for a future event of this kind.