Simple Power Outages, Not So Simple Solutions

Written by Danielle Hagerty

In the first week of the spring semester, many of Front Range Community College’s staff and student body may have experienced a portion of their day in the dark. FRCC Westminster Campus had several unexpected power failures throughout the school on multiple occasions.

There were a total of four power outages over the winter break with two more occurrences on the first two days of the semester, January 17th and 18th, inconveniencing those who experienced them.

power-outageOne might assume that a power failure is an avoidable problem, especially when the issue happens more than once. When it does occur, you’d hope an institution such as FRCC would have the ability to make the inconvenience as short as possible. However, these small problems are not solved with quick fixes.

Cathy Pellish, the vice president of Westminster campus, briefly explained the repeat occurrences and maintenance that came from multiple responders.

“We had Excel, Surge and Electric, and our Facility staff all responding to this.”

During those power outages, all three responders were on the search for any malfunction on the campus’s or Excel’s side of things. Pellish also discussed the complexity of finding these problems.

“We decided to set into motion different expertise to do testing,” said Pellish. “When the second outage occurred we were on the phone trying to schedule this at the most convenient time for everyone. We realized after two days in a row we could not wait, it had to be fixed now.”

This was not the welcome back that anyone had in mind, and it was not taken lightly. The power failure created a sort of domino effect. There were many communication issues that did not come across due to the outage. Text alerts, emergency intercoms, and automatic door locks were all affected. The automatic securing of the doors was at first an improved safety net for the campus, which then became a challenge during this power outage.

There were some effects that became long term such as, the actual classes occurring.

“Well, it seems like the power outage wouldn’t have been a really big deal but now one of my classes is far behind because of this outage. It was pretty inconvenient for us, and still has been,” student Keegan Harris stated.

Without diminishing the inconvenience this event had on many of the staff and students, it is important to note the responsiveness that came from multiple parties and complexities that come with what seems like a small glitch. Certain aspects of communication became a needing improvement, which may have never been found without a power failure. These things become more than just an interruption.

Whether or not there could be more power outages this semester is still unclear.

One thought on “Simple Power Outages, Not So Simple Solutions

  1. ‘Surge and Electric’ meant to say Sturgeon Electric. Sturgeon provides maintenance for commercial companies like the college. I saw them working on one of the days of the power outage.


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