Rutgers Finally Explains Major Power Outage

September 16, 2016

By Frank Griffin - Contributing Writer

A power outage is inconvenient no matter how you look at it, but in today's highly connected world, the impact reverberates wider than ever before. Case in point is the outage that took place at Rutgers University on September 14, which closed 90 buildings, including 39 residence halls, and forced 3,000 students out of residences. For an institution that spans 2,688 acres with a staff of almost 10,000 and a student body of more than 67,000, the ripple effect of such a large power outage can be costly across the board. 

According to reports, there were a couple of power outages on Tuesday that were quickly restored. But around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the university announced the major outage that affected its Cook and Douglass campuses, both located in New Brunswick, N.J. This outage wasn't restored until Thursday, after more than 36 hours without power.

The outage was caused by a faulty transformer, which was fixed after testing more than 100 pieces of equipment in the campus before the faulty unit was found. According to university officials, a mechanical problem was responsible for the transformer's failure. And even though Rutgers receives power from three different sources, the Busch Co-Generation Plant, the Livingston Solar Farm, and PSE&G, it still affected a considerable percentage of its facility and residents.

In order to accommodate the 3,000 displaced students, Rutgers made arrangements for housing and transportation with cots being set up in a gymnasium overnight.

For students that have their laptops, smartphones and desktop computers in their residences, as well as the many systems that are part of the affected buildings, the danger of losing their devices and more importantly the data within them was very real. Without a surge protector, or back up power, in the case of the university systems, the computing devices and other electronics can be permanently damaged.

This event highlights that even the most prepared organizations can experience a long-lasting power outage. So individuals that are part of any organization should take matters into their own hands and protect the devices that are critical to their business or personal lives. With the right surge protectors and power backup systems, the hardware and software of these devices can be protected with remote monitoring and proper shutdown applications.

Edited by Alicia Young