Power Protection FEATURED ARTICLE


Power Protection: Owl's Diverted Flight Path Leaves Thousands in the Dark in Indiana

April 04, 2012

By Carrie Majewski (née Schmelkin) - Director of Content Marketing, Content Boost

Indiana State University (ISU) students and administrators and more than 6,280 Duke Energy (News - Alert) customers had to rely on former Girl Scout and Boy Scout experiences and find their trusty flashlights and candles on Monday night when an owl – one who flew over the cuckoo’s nest – crashed into an electrical sub-station and caused a widespread power outage.


Electricity went off around 11:34 p.m. Monday and was restored to all customers by 1:17 a.m. Tuesday, according to a Duke Energy spokesperson. The two-hour bout of downtime left a few ISU employees more than disgruntled as many ISU operations came to a screeching halt and the school quickly turned to generators and portable flashlights. One area that was affected was the Hulman Memorial Student Union, which was closed shortly after the power was lost, said Anita Gabbard, assistant director of HMSU.  

“We made a decision to go ahead and close down the building for the remainder of the night,” she said in a recent article. “We weren’t sure when the power was coming back on and the system was already running off of the generator, so we wanted to make sure everything was okay before we let anyone back in.”

Public Safety officials also had to ramp up their patrolling – and not just of inebriated under-aged coeds – as they wanted to make sure that residential life kept on ticking safely, according to school officials.

The recent outage experienced at ISU sheds light on just how quickly power can go out and why having power protection units can greatly ameliorate situations such as these. In fact, if you think it is odd that an owl could have caused an outage that left thousands without power, you might want to consider the fact that other critters can wreak havoc as well. Specifically, it is not all that uncommon for squirrels, beavers and other small animals to find their way onto and into utility and power equipment and cause power outages. And these types of problems can often be difficult to track down and leave the lights off for hours while technicians investigate.

“Administrators often think of the obvious causes of power outages, which include natural disasters such as lightning, high winds, and earthquakes, when constructing a disaster plan,” Duston Nixon, marketing communications specialist for Minuteman UPS/Para Systems (News - Alert), told TMCnet in a recent interview. “While these events usually take the forefront both in people’s minds and in the media, other less expected factors can lead to outages.”

And in the case of the owl in Indiana, Nixon would appear to be right on target. So what can schools do to safeguard themselves against power outages? Invest in power protection units, just as ISU did.

Minuteman, a leading provider of power protection technologies, boasts a product line specifically for campuses including surge suppressors for non-critical components, standby EnSpire series and line interactive Entrust, PRO-E, PRO-RT, and EnterprisePlus series UPSs for small to medium sized network and security devices, and full on-line Endeavor UPSs for enterprise-wide systems requiring multiple hours of runtime.

For a list of colleges and universities that rely on Minuteman power protection products, click here.




Edited by Rich Steeves