UCD services were forced to close temporarily after a fault with the university’s generator left several campus buildings with no electricity.
The fault, which occurred on 4th January, was caused by rewiring of electrical cables for the Rosemount estate outside UCD. A number of greenhouses from Thornfield were being relocated to the Rosemount estate, and were being connected up to the mains.
While power was restored to the campus, some of the buildings and facilities – including the O’Kane Centre for Film Studies, the Oakmount crèche and the floodlights for the GAA and rugby pitches – were still left with no power to operate.
A replacement generator was acquired later that day to power the crèche and the surrounding facilities but it malfunctioned later that evening.
As Services did not discover the fault in the replacement generator until the next morning, the affected facilities were unable to open the following day. Another generator was brought into the university to replace it until the fault was rectified.
Student Centre Manager, Dominic O’Keeffe, told The University Observer that the power outage had caused significant disruption to services in the crèche. While the disruption took place outside term time, he explained that the crèche is busy throughout the year, since it is mainly university staff that avail of the service. The problems experienced by the generator meant that the crèche could not open the same day staff returned to work from the Christmas break.
“Well, the staff of the university keep their kids at the crèche so it would be very busy [all year],” said O’Keeffe. “[If there is] no one to mind your kids, you’d be very upset and we’ve staff that are there that can’t work so you’re upsetting 70 families… people were very upset about it.”
O’Keeffe commended the university for the speed in which they dealt with the problem and believed that “in fairness to the university, they restored the power by Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, the generator decided to blow and then we had to get a replacement generator.”
The fault was originally discovered by the university a few hours after the power outage occurred but it was not rectified until 6th January.
The disruption led to the closure of the university’s libraries with the exception of the Veterinary and Blackrock libraries. Both the James Joyce and Richview libraries reopened later that day with a limited service but normal services were resumed throughout the next day.
A spokesperson for UCD dismissed clams that the fault occurred due to outside interference with the crèche’s generator.