Greater Hamilton Area Loses Power

Just before 11 a.m. on Monday, April 12 parts of the Colgate campus and the Village of Hamilton experienced a sudden, hour-long loss of electrical power. On campus, power loss was inconsistent, with some buildings on campus switching to backup power supplies at the time the University’s service was lost. Many classes in affected areas were dismissed early as fire alarms automatically sounded across campus.

According to Hamilton Mayor Sue McVaugh, the blackout occurred when a Madison County bulldozer accidentally pierced the town’s main electric line during a road construction project south of the Village.

“The system automatically shut down – as it is supposed to do – to protect millions of dollars worth of equipment,” McVaugh said in an e-mail to the Maroon-News. “The bulldozer operator did not realize what had happened, so it took about an hour to find out where the problem was.”

Representatives of Southern Madison County Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SOMAC) dismissed rumors that the problem originated at the service’s garage on Lebanon Street.

“SOMAC didn’t cause the blackout,” SOMAC Student Coordinator senior Paige Bayless said. “We had a lot of trouble with our generators as a result of the blackout and the subsequent power surges. Smoke just started pouring out of the electrical panel and the Fire Department was brought in to assist.”

The University activated the e2Campus alert system and alerted the campus community to the situation at 11:37 a.m. A second message was sent at 12:07 p.m. confirming the reconnection of electric service.

Contact Andrew Wickerham at [email protected].