Blown fuses in Kedzie likely to blame for blackout


About 30 buildings on campus went dark temporarily at about 11 p.m. Monday. While power returned to most of the buildings, two campus buildings were left without power for much of the night.

Kedzie Hall and Gen. Richard B. Myers Hall lost power about 11 p.m. Myers Hall regained power at about 3:30 a.m., and power was restored to Kedzie Hall just before 6 a.m.

Tuesday night, Ed Heptig, director of facilities maintenance, did not yet know the cause of the power outage.

“My guess is, right now, that fuses at Kedzie were the issue,” Heptig said. “It could’ve been the elevator starting, it could’ve been anything in the building that made that surge that took it out.”

Kedzie has three main power lines feeding electricity into the building, Heptig said, and fuses to two of the power lines blew Monday night.

K-State’s campus has one 4,160-volt power supply that supplies electricity to about 30 buildings, including Kedzie and Myers, in the central part of campus. K-State’s power plant was able to start producing electricity relatively quickly to supply most of the buildings with power after the blackout Monday night.

Kedzie did not regain power until an electrician replaced the two blown fuses at about 6 a.m. Tuesday.

“It is not one that you just go over and pull a fuse out and screw in a new one,” Heptig said. “It’s more complicated than that.”

K-State campus police called the K-State electrician who was on call Monday night just after 11 p.m., a K-State police dispatcher said.

The on-call electrician did not respond and Heptig was called about 2 a.m. Tuesday. Heptig arrived on campus at about 3 a.m. and, with the help of another electrician, was able to locate the source of the power outage in Kedzie.

It is K-State’s policy to call the on-call electrician when there is an electrical problem on campus. The on-call electrician then has two hours to respond, before campus police call the electrician’s supervisor.

Heptig said he did not know why the on-call electrician did not respond.

Subhead Switching the circuit

K-State is currently working to replace the electrical wiring to all the buildings on the 4160-volt power supply. New buildings on the edges of campus are powered by a newer, 1,250-volt power supply. Several buildings have already been switched over to the new power supply.

Heptig said Hale Library, Waters Hall and King Hall were switched to the 1,250-volt power supply last weekend. These building’s power had to be shut off for four hours on Sunday.

“There will be numerous events like that over the next three months, where we will be shutting buildings down for four-hour intervals to do the switch-overs,” Heptig said. “They are trying to do all those over the weekends and after-hours, where it won’t affect classes or anything like that.”

Heptig said these intentional power shutoffs were not related to the power-outage Monday night, but that buildings on the older power supply were more susceptible to electrical problems.