‘Lights out’: Campus-wide outage hits Stanford amid solstice fires

June 21, 2022, 6:50 p.m.

Stanford students may have to rely on the summer solstice for light today after an Edgewood Park fire caused a PG&E system failure that sparked a campus-wide power outage in the early afternoon. 

The Stanford SU Alert system initially informed the community of the outage at 3:18 p.m., attributing the blackout to a problem with “one of the main PG&E transmission lines feeding campus.” According to the alert, efforts are underway to transfer power to an alternate line. There was no estimation on when power would be restored, and warned students to prepare for chilled water curtailment.

The outage comes on the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures topping out at 102 degrees. Meanwhile, fires have been burning through the surrounding areas in San Mateo County all day. The Edgewood Fire that reportedly caused the outage has not yet been contained as of Tuesday evening.

According to PG&E, the company’s “crews were immediately dispatched to the scene and are partnering with first responders as we work to safely restore power to approximately 8,900 customers.”

“We are actively looking to connect impacted customers to other sections of our electric system to restore power as quickly as possible,” a PG&E spokesperson wrote to The Daily.

According to a follow-up message to the University community at 4:55 p.m., limited back-up power is in use and “Level 4 chilled water curtailment is in effect, and efforts to restore cooling equipment for critical infrastructure are underway.” The emergency effort means that chilled water will be conserved for hospital and animal safety when power is restored while most of building power will remain off.

At 6:26 p.m., the University notified the community that “flashlights are being distributed to student residences that do not have generator power, and are also available at the areas of respite (Arrillaga Family Dining Commons and EVGR Pavilion).

There is still no restoration time estimation for the greater part of campus. The second alert included another warning, this time for key-cards—”If the outage persists, card access doors may power down and lock automatically,” and that staff is currently working to re-key the main entrance to each student residence building so room or apartment keys will provide access.

The Daily has reached out to the University, the Stanford University Public Safety Department, Stanford University Energy Operations and the San Mateo Fire Department for comment.

This article will be updated.

Kyla Figueroa ‘24 is the former Vol. 260–262 Managing Editor for The Grind, the 263 Screen DE for Arts & Life, and a staff writer for News. Throw pitches and questions her way — kfigueroa ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

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