Power Crisis Hits UCSD, Threatens Rolling Blackouts

The power crisis that left thousands of Californians in the dark during the past week has forced UCSD to prepare for the possibility of rolling blackouts.

Wendy Schiefer, manager of customer relations at Physical Plant Services, said the UCSD campus is in electrical stage three emergency, which means there is a threat to the electrical system reliability and an increased possibility of the campus experiencing rolling power outages.

Schiefer says that under stage three emergency, students should reduce electrical usage as much as possible and refrain from any sensitive research that requires electrical power.

Schiefer, who is living in the dark and without heat due to skyrocketing energy bills, said she believes it will take an actual blackout to get students to conserve.

“”Some people may not take the energy crisis seriously,”” Schiefer said. “”But they may find out the hard way when the power goes out.””

Yolanda Trevino, assistant resident dean of Marshall college, said all the colleges have taken steps to inform residents of the need to conserve energy.

“”We’ve sent out e-mails and community bulletins to residents, asking them to conserve energy as much as possible,”” Trevino said. “”because during blackouts there is no heat and no electricity and the elevators will shut off.””

Trevino said that the resident life offices are asking students to turn off their personal computers when they are not in use, back up all computer files, turn off extra lights, and to have flashlights and fresh batteries on hand.

Roosevelt sophomore Susan Liem, an on-campus resident, is concerned about the power crisis.

“”I try to do my part by turning off extra lights and the heat,”” Liem said.

However, she said that she does not think many students are taking the energy crisis seriously.

“”I see people leave their lights on all the time and turn up the heater very high,”” Liem said. “”I don’t think students will take it seriously as long as they live on campus because they don’t pay the electricity bills.””

Marshall sophomore Brandon Ito, also an on-campus resident, said his efforts to conserve have been thwarted by his roommates.

“”I have tried to conserve energy over the past week, but it seems like I always shut all the lights off in the apartment only to come home to them all on again,”” Ito said. “”I know that my roommates and neighbors have no will to save energy, as they keep their lights on constantly.””

Ito said that even though the campus has yet to experience rolling blackouts, it is important for everyone to do their part and conserve energy.

“”I’m not an environmentalist or conservationist by any means, but I believe that we’ve reached a sense of urgency that needs to be attended to,”” Ito said. “”And it’s partly because I feel bad for all the little kids that are home alone when their lights go out.””

Ito said he is bothered by the fact that the lights in many lecture halls and buildings remain on through the night.

“”I think it’s absolutely ridiculous and the greatest source of energy loss that a lot of the lecture halls and buildings around campus have their lights left on the entire night,”” Ito said.

With the UCSD campus renown for its research and medical communities, measures have been taken to prevent the possibility of power loss to render any effect on their work.

Kim McDonald, UCSD director of science communications, said the biology division has taken steps to inform the labs to be prepared in the event of power outage and to conserve energy as much as possible.

“”We’ve warned all the labs that they should make sure that critical equipment is on emergency circuits,”” McDonald said. “”Most of the lab buildings have emergency generators that will come on, to keep animal facilities and critical equipment running, but we are mostly hoping that we dodge the bullet somehow.””

Thornton and Hillcrest Hospitals have also undergone measures in order to safeguard against possible rolling blackouts.

Director of Facilities Dennis Goodrich said the hospitals have back up emergency generators that ensure all life saving equipment.

“”Due to the automatic nature of the emergency generators, all life saving equipment never senses loss of power and so patients are under no danger,”” Goodrich said.

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