Electrical explosion causes brief power dip on campus Wednesday

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UC Berkeley experienced a brief power disruption on Wednesday evening after an explosion occurred on the south side of campus.

At approximately 6 p.m., one of the campus’s high-voltage switch stations exploded near Anthony Hall, according to Christine Shaff, the communications director for UC Berkeley’s Department of Facilities Services. The station is a part of the electrical distribution system for the entire campus, she said.

“There wasn’t an actual outage, but there was a dip in power that did affect equipment all across campus,” Shaff said. “So some equipment did shut off because of that dip.”

It was originally thought that a power transformer on campus had exploded.

After the explosion, representatives from the Physical Plant – Campus Services, Berkeley Fire Department and officers from UCPD responded to the scene, according to UCPD spokesperson Lt. Eric Tejada. There were no injuries reported, he said.

The cause of the explosion is currently unknown, as are the extent and cost of the damage. Shaff said equipment near the site of the explosion must be de-energized first before the campus conducts a thorough investigation of the incident.

“That’s scheduled to happen (on Friday), and the investigation will happen over the weekend,” she said. “I don’t think there’s any reason to be worried. The work that they will be doing for the investigation will not impact the power supply to campus.”

Last fall, the northeast part of campus temporarily experienced a power outage after an equipment malfunction during a routine switching procedure on the campus’s physical power plant.

Andy Nguyen is the lead crime reporter. Contact him at [email protected].