Author: Lilliane Ballesteros
Stormy weather conditions caused three transformers to blow out September 22, leaving Bell-Young Hall, the Women’s Center, 1601 Campus Road and 4909 Range View without power. Further power outages were reported throughout the Eagle Rock area, from York Blvd. to Colorado Blvd. According to a Campus Safety report, Occidental students lost power around 12:30 a.m. and were left in the dark until the following day at 7 a.m.
Campus Safety Officers reported trying to get in touch with the Department of Water and Power (DWP) as soon as they learned of the power outage, but said they could not get through. Officers believed the problem was due to an overload of calls from people who had lost power and were calling DWP at the same time. At 12:30 am, the officers said they did not expect the power to come back on anytime soon.
Campus Safety Officers visited the halls that had no lights and handed out glow sticks. “Campus Safety brought by between 40 and 60 glow sticks from what I saw,” Zak Stoltz (sophomore) said. “Most of these were put in the stairwells and bathrooms because there were a couple emergency lights in each of the hallways. Other than that, people were pretty much on their own. It was really more of an inconvenience than anything.”
Director of Campus Safety Hollis Nieto said the College opened the Johnson Student Center area on September 22 at 6 a.m. in order to allow students without power to have a place to go.
Occidental College was not the only location to lose power over the weekend. The Los Angeles Times reported power outages throughout Southern California. The Times reported that, by Sunday, “the L.A. Department of Water and Power had restored electricity to all 30,000 of its customers who experienced outages, caused mostly by downed power lines and lightning, at some point during the storm.”
The power outage was reminiscent of the blackout of 2005, which caused most of Oxy to lose power. At that time, Bell-Young Hall was reported to be one of the only dorms on campus still with power. Stormy weather was also the cause of that blackout, and it took approximately two days before power was restored.
Some students were disappointed with the way the College handled the outage. “The hall did provide glow sticks, but not enough was done to light the stairways and halls,” Martha Venegas (senior) said. “They should have left a glow stick on everyone’s door.”
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