Middlebury

Utility Failure

If you see an exposed or downed power line, call 911 or the Department of Public Safety immediately. Stay away from the lines.

Avoid contact with metal or water which may be in contact with an electrical source such as a downed power line, electronic device, electrical outlet or switchboard.

If you become aware of a utility failure (electrical, natural gas, sewage, water, elevator or fire alarm), notify the Facilities Services at x5472 during normal business hours.

  • For telephone failures, notify Telephone Services at x5700 during normal business hours.
  • For computer network failures, notify Library Information Services at x2200 during normal business hours.
  • For any utility failure that occurs after hours, notify the Public Safety Department at x5911.

If the College becomes aware of a utility failure, it will notify the College community by:

  1. Phone System. During a power failure the phone system will be on a two (2) hour battery back up allowing time to make a campus-wide notification.
  2. Computer System. We now have a generator backup for the computer system in Voter. In the event of a power failure the computer system will remain in service and would be immediately accessible to you once your power is restored.
  3. Other Systems. When other systems are not functioning, Facilities Services will notify the campus community by e-mail or voice mail. You may also contact the facilities phone tree hot line at 5472 for updated information.

Background Information for Power Outages

What happens behind the scenes?

Occasionally we experience unexpected outages. Sometimes they are localized on campus; other times they are town or county wide. They may be caused by a variety of reasons. The duration of the outage ultimately depends on the cause. Common causes include excessive electrical demand, damage to power lines from trees or storms, system failures at sub stations, and squirrels. Yes, squirrels. Their high-wire acts too often end in a literal “blaze of glory.”

When power fails on campus, Facilities Services is aware of it within moments. Our computerized energy management system registers disruptions, and Facilities around campus immediately begin to report in via radio. The first minutes are spent ascertaining the extent of the outage, and whether a local cause can be determined. When these things are known, Central Vermont Public Service Corp (CVPS) is immediately called and notified. In cases where the outage extends beyond campus, CVPS phone lines are inundated, so it may take some time to get information about the cause and expected repair time.

The majority of the large institutional buildings on campus are powered by "three-phase" electrical power. Three-phase power is carried through three individual conductors to provide a more efficient means of supplying large electrical loads in industrial areas. When an outage affects a single phase, many of our staff must drop what they were doing and shut off the remaining two phases of power to the affected buildings as quickly as possible. This avoids damage to any three-phase motor driven equipment (elevators, heat motors, refrigeration equipment, etc.). Once the repair is made by CVPS, Facilities Services powers up each building one at a time to avoid overloading the electrical infrastructure.

How can you help us?

When an outage occurs, Facilities Services is inundated with phone calls. While we do need to know which buildings have been affected, a barrage of calls becomes counterproductive. Funneling reports through your school or department coordinator, administrative assistant, commons office or CRA is particularly critical during an outage. Between incoming calls, our office staff must also be communicating with Public Safety, Telephone Services, LIS, Dining Services, and our own staff so that they may all determine how best to maintain critical services. You may obtain current outage information by dialing x5742 and selecting option 1. Information is recorded there as soon as it is known

To avoid surge damage when the power returns, turn off any electrical equipment that had been running at the time. Then contact your building/department representative to be sure that he/she has reported it to us.

Above all, please be patient! An outage is considered an emergency, and Facilities Services does all that it can to assist in resolving the situation as quickly as possible.

Thank you,
Facilities Services