Power Outage History Reports

Power Outage History Report

This historical listing is for major campus power outages.  Listing is under development and may not represent all power outages, especially those power outages that are only local to a building or individual rooms.  

Information on current power outages can be found at:
Pacific Gas & Electric Outage Page

Cogen Building Support
On - Science & Engineering Hill Buildings normally backed by UCSC Cogen (A1 Feeder)
JBEB, CfAO, E&MS, ISB, NS2, Science Library, Sinshimer Labs, Thimann Labs

Not On - Science & Engineering Hill Buildings Not backed by UCSC Cogen
Biomedical Sciences, Engineering 2, Physical Sciences, Communications


Date Time


Cause Notes



less than 120 min

UCSC Emergency Electrical Repair

2300 Delaware Only - Very limited area to Building A/B some circuits only
A 1000 amp breaker had a loose phyical connection that needed to be reset and new screws put into place.   This was possible seen on some circuits that had gone dead over the prior weekend.


1540-1630 or

40 -240 min 

Tree fell on PG&E power lines off campus

The entire campus and much of Santa Cruz lost power around 3:40pm today.   Essentially all Santa Cruz locations including Delaware and Coastal Sciences Campus experienced this power outage for some time.
Campus power was restored in parts from about 4:30pm to sometime close to 6:00pm.   Initially 3 of 4 campus feeders were restored in a short period of time with just the A2 feeder exhibiting some problems that required troubleshooting.   Standby and emergency generator at E2 and JBEB;   PBSci tells me that standby generators for Biomed, PSB did operate.   I do not have information on Sinsheimer Labs generators.
Cogen dropped off line so buildings that use cogen to power through outages also went offline.  This includes JBEB and Sinsheimer Labs. 
A short power outage was also seen at 2300 Delaware.   Lab personnel at Delaware report most computers and equipment without back up power connections went off line, some went into weird states.
The cause for the power outage is unknown.  However PBSci facilities staff tell me that a tree did topple onto power lines near Blaine Street in Santa Cruz..
Heat Plant tells me that Cogen is still offline and will remain so for about 18 hours due to operational constraints of the turbine.   For BSOE personnel this means that additional power outages will likely be seen at JBEB and Sinsheimer labs.  Other BSOE occupied buildings are not powered by the cogen plant. (E2, PSB, Biomed, Delaware).




PG&E Voltage Sag

Impacted main UCSC campus as a power outage.   Bulidings on CoGen were not impacted.   2300 Delaware and likely Coastal Science Campus saw the voltage sag but not the power outage.  Lederman Lab (Physics Materials Science) reported that some lab equipment at 2300 Delaware did shut down due to the voltage sag.

Gary Riggs, Senior Superintendent Cogen/Electrical/Fire Alarm/Lighting reported, "Yesterday's outage was caused by a utility under voltage condition. The cogen plant stayed online and carried the A1 feeder".





campus grid

When switching cooling towers, campus power grid went down.   A1 feeder from Cogen stayed online.

Summary for BSOE occupied buildings
Impacted:  E2, BioMed, PSB
Not Impacted:  JBEB, Sinsheimer, 2300 Delaware, Silicon Valley





Unplanned for Cogen buildings

Planned campus wide power outage in support of East Field parking photovolatic (solar) system installation.  That system will be a 2MW system with battery storage of energy projected to save UCSC $6M on energy costs alone and help get UCSC to carbon neutral by 2025.

This work was only to impact non-cogen buildings.   However from 9:48-9:57, JBEB and likely other cogen buildings lost power as the Cogen engine was tripped offline due in part to a faulty main feed breaker at the Merrill substation.   At 9:57, the A1 feeder was put onto PG&E to restore power to cogen buildings and from about 9:57am to 12:20pm, buildings normally fed from cogen were being powered by PG&E.   Cogen was restarted and at about 12:20pm the A1 feeder (cogen buildings) was switched back from PG&E to the cogen system.    Campus is operating normally but with an abnormal breaker condition until the failed breaker at Merrill Substation can be repaired and put back into service.





Sensors at McHenry Library indicated loss of power from 10:05 am to 10:14 am.   Cogen picked up JBEB, Sinsheimer however some fume hoods (237) indicated loss of exhaust.   Portable A/C was deployed to E2-208, chillers for E2 buliding did not come back on line, HVAC was alerted via heatplant to chiller issues.





Sensors at McHenry Library indicated loss of power from 7:44 am to 8:51am.

At around 7:40-8:00 a line of thunderstorms rolled thorough the area with lightening and heavy rain.

During the power outage, Cogen was reported to up and running.  Per PBSci Facilites,  "Biomed and PSB emergency generators are running, but there are alarms associated with these. Campus electricians will investigate."   

For 2300 Dealware and Coastal Science campus no info.  But likely power was interrupted.   Per PBSci Facilities  "CBB appears to have power, though there was an interruption that triggered the front gate auto-messaging."

Temperatures in the E2 data center reached 91°F, and some research computing systems may have shut down automatically.  





10 min

PG&E fault

Sensors at McHenry Library indicated loss of power from 1:40 am to  1:50 am  (Phase A voltage was zero).

Heat Plant Operations say:  PG&E had a power blimp and main campus power was lost for about 10 minutes.  Prior to this, power was lost at Coastal Biology for about 90 minutes, when campus electricans were able to restore power.   Campus went offline for 10 minutes except CoGen buildings where CoGen did stay up but at reduced power output.

BSOE data centers in E2-208 & 594 operated operated partially on UPS and generator power.   Cooling was lost to the rooms as the E2 chiller went offline.   Cooling came back on at abouit 3:50am.

JBEB may have stay up on CoGen power



2219-2239 20 min

PG&E initiated
Cogen dropped offline

All campus feeders lost power and UCSC Cogen was knocked offline.  PG&E feed was restored after 20min, however Cogen Turbine was not restarted until after 1am.   Buildings should have seen power loss only for the 20 mins shown, however chill water systems that depend upon Cogen (e.g. absorption chillers such as E2 and JBEB) were lost for a much longer time.

Initial reports of a power outage were alterted to BSOE facilities via our Nagios & Cacti sensor network (UPS and temperature sensors).  Campus dispatch did not call BSOE facilities personnel as the power outage did not go past 30 minutes.  

This event resulted in loss of power in main campus buildings including those typically supplied by Cogen (JBEB & Sinsheimer Labs) and those not supplied by Cogen (E2, Biomed, PSB and E&MS).  We expect that local building emergency and standby generators operated, however as of 1/6/19 we are attempting to confirm this with campus electricans. 

2300 Delaware - No info of power interruption; Art Ramirez indicated no noticable effects on his systems the next day, which seems to indicate no significant loss of power.
Silicon Valley Campus - no info of power outages

Sensors in the BSOE Data centers in E2 (208/594) show the cooling system in E2 remained offline past 1am.  Heat plant did not get a reponse from campus HVAC dept.   BSOE facilities staff are responding to campus at around 1am.  At about 1:20am, facilities staff (Jeff Duncan) was able to restart air handlers however E2 chillers were not operating.  The main E2 chiller is an absorption chiller which operates from waste heat from the Cogen power plant.  Cogen having dropped offline may mean this absorption chiller does not operate.

Heat plant techicans restarted the older E2 chillers at 1:40am.  Data center temps dropped to acceptable levels at 1:20am and were more normal at 2:00am.

Ceiling temperature sensors showed temperatures exceeded 90degF in E2-208 and 84degF in E2-594.  Some servers appeared to shutdown due to high temperature, however some remained up.  Those systems that remained up may be damaged by high temperature.    



3 hr &
33 min

UCSC power system fault.

Cogen remained operating

At about 10:07am am today (Wed 12/5/18) UCSC experienced a power outage for some but not all buildings.  This was the second power outage for this day.  A CruzAlert Message was sent indicating a fault inside one of the UCSC high voltage underground vaults.  Info later from plant indicated that rain water had gotten inside one of the substations. 

Campus technicans finished their work at 12:44pm however PG&E had left site to repond to another outage and did not return until around just before 1:40pm.  Power was restored to campus at 1:40pm

For BSOE this power outage is seen at Engineering 2, Physical Science Building and Biomedical Sciences.   JBEB, Sinsheimer Labs and Earth & Marine Sciences are operational, running on the A1 feeder circuit which is powered by Cogen.   2300 Delaware and Silicon Valley Center should not currently be impacted.  I was at 2300 Delaware when the outage started and did not notice any loss in power.  We believe backup generators did come on and operated normally.  


Facilities & ITS staff have deployed emergency cooling to the BSOE Data centers e2-208 however we do not have emergency cooling for E2-594.   Researchers with systems in E2-594 should watch the temperatures and consider shutdowns should temperatures rise too high.


0202-0310 68 min

PG&E phase to Gnd fault

PG&E phase to ground fault, Heat plant tells me there was PG&E fault with phase to ground.  All campus feeders lost power and UCSC Cogen was knocked offline.   These reports are confirmed by BSOE UPS and data sensor reports.  

For BSOE should have impacted all main campus buildings including JBEB & Sinsheimer Labs (on Cogen Feeders) and E2, Biomed, PSB and E&MS.  We believe backup generators did come on and operated normally.   No info of power interruptions at 2300 Delaware nor Silicon Valley Center locations, although we suspect there might have been at least a blip at Delaware.

Sensors in the BSOE Data centers in E2 (208/594) and JBEB (213) tend to show these systems may have remained partially online with generator/UPS power with room temperatures reaching
(E2-208-96.7/76.3F; E2-594 - 82.5F; BE-213-66F).   Temp in E2-208 ceiling is as ceiling/underfloor.  Temp started dropping at 3:05am when power likely was restored to E2 and air handlers started running as underfloor sensor spiked immediatley to 72F, coming down to 60F at 3:15am, likely when chill water was restored.

0645-0655 10 min Unplanned

Event under research.
Reported loss of power at E2, Biomed and other non-Congen buildings.   Cogen buildings (JBEB/Sinsheimer) stayed up. 

Several buldings on campus reported to be without power including: Bookstore, some classroom units, Communications Building, Grad Commons, Student Housing, Humanities, OPERS, PE Fitness, Theater Arts, Music, ARC and possibly additional buildings within this proximity.  Campus crews are locating the fault. Current estimations are a 2-3 hour outage for those areas. 


0336-0346  10 min Unplanned Event under research.
Reported loss of power at E2, Biomed and other non-Congen buildings.   Cogen buldings (JBEB/Sinsheimer) stayed up.   Chillers at E2 kicked off line and were restarted remotely by Heat Plant but chill water pumps failed to restart.  Pumps were restarted manully about 5am.   B2 feeder for campus remained offline due to a ground to phase fault.



 5 min


Event under research.
JBEB, E2, Sinsheimer lost power.  PSB did not.  Possible loss of power at Delaware & Coastal Biology Building.   Coastal Biology generator was reported to not work.

JBEB standby generator appeared to operate but Emergency generator did not come on (no emergency lighting).   PPDO shops working on the JBEB emergency generator (GS-25), the engine would not fire.  BSOE and JBEB personnel are advised to carry their cell phones and use them as a light source should emergency lighting be needed.



8 hrs

UCSC High Voltage Maint

JBEB and Engineering Auditorum.   Planned outaged to perform 6 year maintenance on high voltage transformers.   Standby and emergency power from local generators will be working.   You need to connected to those sources however.



8 hrs

UCSC High Voltage Maint

Engineering 2.  Planned outaged to perform 6 year maintenance on high voltage transformers.  Standby and emergency power from local generators will be working.   You need to connected to those sources however.



3 hrs


2300 Delaware.  Entire complex went off line.
Squirrel got into high voltage vault and shorted out two legs of the feed.  Standby and emergency generators ran.



15 min

TBD - likley short PG&E power brownout (5 sec)

Power outage started at 8:52am.   A1 feeder loads remained up on Cogen;  other campus loads went offline except for Emergency and Standby power generators.

Power outage also occured at 2300 Delaware for about 5 seconds.
Clean Room staff at JBEB report some equipment had equpment circuit breakers trip indicating a possible surge of current.

Occured during final exams.




Planned Work
by PG&E
replacement of power poles

Planned Power outage for PG&E to replace a power pole.
Power outage started at 8:52am.   A1 feeder loads remained up on Cogen;  other campus loads went offline except for Emergency and Standby power generators.

celluar communications in/around JBEB & E2 worked at full power as cell tower is on JBEB and powered by cogen.




PG&E Outage

Cogen picked up load on A1

Unplanned campus wide power outage including lower campus and Delaware.   There was a phase to ground fault on the PG&E side of the campus feed.   Cogen turbine successfully carried the A1 feeder which provides power to JBEB and other buildings on the A1 feeder.  Outage time of 2226-2305 was cited by Physical Plant Superintentent.

Personnel at 2300 Delaware reported a power outage as well but the times are not well known.

Lab staff at Biomed reported equipment stopped running and some experiments failed.




2 min
lower main campus

5 sec

PG&E Outage

Cogen dropped offline

Unplanned Campus wide power outage, including 2300 Delaware Ave on Santa Cruz Westside near Coastal Sciences Campus.  PG&E undervoltage caused interruption.  UCSC Cogen plant tripped offline during event. 

PG&E power was restored to Delaware in 5 seconds; lower campus in a few minutes and to upper campus (JBEB/E2) by 1219.  Times for upper campus provided by BSOE UPS power supplies located in basement of JBEB.   

Personnel at 2300 Delaware reported a loss of power for about 5 seconds.  Long enough to require a reboot of computers not on UPS.

Preliminary information from Campus Engineer is that a PG&E utility undervoltage event tripped several distribution devices off line.  


1225-1443 or

138 (CG)

(non CG)

PG&E Outage

Cogen dropped offline

Campus wide power outage.   PG&E power was interrupted.   Cogen tripped offline.   Cogen was restarted and power returned.

PG&E power was lost at 12:25pm.  Cogen turbine also tripped offline.  Turbine as able to sync to the black start generator and feed the A1 feeder at 2:43pm.  Utility power was restored at 3:04pm.

Cogen tripped offline due to an anomaly during the outage that caused the control air compressor in the turbine plant to trip offline.  Operator attempted to restart the air compressor and clear low pressure alarm but as air pressure dropped, the gas valves failed causing turbine to trip off line.

Equipment damage due to possible power surges and sample losses have been reported.
Claim #2018208399  SQC-122C Thin Flim Deposition Controller
Amount:  $3,215.50 (P0653275)
Location:  JBEB-256
Dr. Tom Yuzvinsky

Claim #(TBD)  Calmar Laser
Amount:  $2,000 evalatuion + 11,150 repairs
Location:  Sinsheimer 
Marco Reinig


1319-1342 23

PG&E Outage

Cogen picked up load on A1

Power outage on main UCSC campus, Delaware and portions of Santa Cruz.  Cogen turbine stayed online and carried A1 feeder for JBEB and other buildings operated off the campus A1 feeder.  

Power was out in Biomed, Engineering 2 and Physical Sciences Building, as those buildings are not supported by Cogen.  Power was also out at Delaware and Coastal Sciences Campus (Long Marine Lab).

Cause was PG&E sectional switch opening.



PG&E Outage

Cogen picked up load on A1

Power outage on main UCSC campus.  Cogen turbine stayed online and carried A1 feeder.   Power was out in Biomed, Engineering 2 and Physical Sciences Building, as those buildings are not supported by Cogen.



PG&E Outage

Cogen picked up load

Power outage on main UCSC campus.  Cogen turbine stayed online and carried A1 feeder.  Power was out in Biomed, Engineering 2 and Physical Sciences Building, as those buildings are not supported by Cogen.

Per PBSci message, outage was due to an under-voltage condition (brown out) of power feeding campus from PG&E grid.




Work in Sinshimer Labs 

Planned Power Outage in Sinsheimer Labs only
To support work separating emergency and standby power loads.   Power outage allows installation of new breaker for new automatic transfer switch (ATS) to switch power onto separate standby and life-safety generatores in the event of main PG&E power outage. This work will split feeds from two generators to standby and life safety emergency power.  A followup projject will add additional standby panels to Sinsheimer labs.




Tree fell on power line

Cogen did not pickup load

Campus wide power outage.   PG&E power was interrupted and was out out service.   Cogen was unable to provide power to campus.

Service outage and restoration times based upon hausslertemp3 sensor communications located in Biomed.



Power line down

Cogen did not pickup load

Campus wide power outage.   PG&E power was interrupted and was out out service until (TBD).   Cogen was unable to provide power to campus due to synronization problems between main turbine and back start generator and later due ot problems with closing campus breakers.   Buildings on Cogen (JBEB, Sinshimer) did not have power until later in the evening, after campus switched those buildings to another feeder.   As of 11am 1/5/17, campus was still troublshooting congen.

Service outage and restoration times based upon BE250temp data sensor communications in Jack Baskin Engineering.
Out 10:02am  restored  11:12am





Main Campus

Cause:  Main campus breaker opened.  Campus is investigating why.   During this time, Cogen was running and power to Baskin Engineering Building and other Science Hill buildings on the A1 feeder remained up

BSOE Buildings that experience power losses include Engineering 2 and Biomedical Sciences, Oakes College Academic building.  We believe building emergency generators in those buildings started and provided power to emergency and standby circuits.   We have reports of local circuit breakers and lighting in Physical Sciences building being offline (lights and computers on 2nd floor).
We have no reports of power outages at 2300 Delaware campus, Coastal Science Campus or Silicon Valley Campus



Last night there was an unplanned power outage starting at approximately 9:15pm.  Power was restored to most campus buildings by 10:33pm.   This unplanned power outage effected most of the UCSC main campus.  I do not have a report for power outages at 2300 Delaware, Coastal Science Campus or Silicon Valley Campus.   I suspect given brown outs on West Side of Santa Cruz that Delaware and Coastal Science Campus might have seen a power blip or two. Initially Three of four main campus feeders went down with only the B2 feeder (campus housing) staying on.  Then at 10:21 all four feeders went down.  There were reported brown outs from West Side of Santa Cruz to Soquel and Ben Lomand.  Power outage was caused by PG&E.
Unfortunately during the outage, the Campus Cogen turbine was down for 48 hour maintenance cycle, so Science Hill Buildings normally powered by Cogen did see this power outage.  That would include JBEB and Sinshimer Labs.


There was a wide spread PG&E power outage early Sunday morning. Campus heat plant reported campus power went out about 12:54am Sunday and campus power was restored around 2:40am.  During this time, UCSC Cogen plant was running and did provide power to the A1 feeder which powered Jack Baskin Engineering Building (JBEB).  Other BSOE occupied buildings did loose power and only had
limited backup generator power.   This included Engineering 2 (E2), Biomedical Sciences Building and Physical Sciences Building (PSB). Some building systems such as HVAC continued to be off line for some
time as various physical plant technicians needed to be called back in and many people were out of town or on vacation.
6/16/16 0700-



Planned Outages - Intermittent outages for up to 60 minutes each for Cogen plant and UCSC electrical grid testing
6/15/16 1400-


Planned Outages - Intermittent outages for up to 60 minutes each for Cogen plant and UCSC electrical grid testing




PG&E power blip

Heat Plant operators tell us that a PG&E power outage or blip on the West Side caused the campus substation to disconnect from PG&E grid.  BSOE remote indicators show loss of sensor data around 5:08 am and sensor data was restored around 6:15am.  Plant operators said high voltage electricans indicated power is fully restored around 6:20am.
Reports from staff and observations mentioned windy conditions in the area.




PG&EFuse Blew

Campus electricians tell us that a PG&E main breaker or fuse tripped, which caused the campus substation to disconnect from PG&E grid.
BSOE remote indicators show loss of sensor data around 4:46am and sensor data was restored around 5:47am.





PG&E power to campus was briefly interrupted which caused the Campus substation to drop offline. A tree feel on some PG&E power lines and PG&E switched power around to isolate the fault.   The campus cogen gurbine tripped off line.   Power was restored to JBEB around 12:05 with various buildings coming on line at slightly different times.  Power was considered normal and stable by around 12:20pm.

Building generators in JBEB, E2, PSB, BioMed, Sinshimer appeared to be running.


0600 next day



Pre-planned power interruptions for UCSC Grid work and testing in support of system improvements.
No power interruptions were seen in BSOE buildings, however the Engineering 2 chiller which depends upon waste heat from the Cogen plant did drop offline from 10pm Mon to 6am Tuesday.

(a) Effective power shutdown effecting computing complex was from 2pm Monday to 6am Tuesday due to planned outage(s) and for chiller repairs.  Some computer servers were restarted much later as IT staff came to work.  BSOE core servers continued to operate througout planned power outage and chiller shutdown.




PG&EWest Side

PG&E Grid Power was lost to the UCSC campus at about 6:30 pm tonight, Saturday 3/5.  According to the PG&E web site, the outage effected Western Drive and the UCSC campus.  During the outage the Campus Cogen gas turbine tripped offline as well and was not restarted. Building backup generators in E2 and JBEB did operate.   We are checking with campus electrical control on other buildings.
BSOE facilities staff were dispatched to campus and setup portable cooling systems for the BSOE core data center and are monitoring the situation.  At about 8:15pm power was restored to E2 and JBEB, however campus grid controllers are not certain that the power situation is yet stable.  Just as I wrote that power was again lost at 8:38pm


73 Storm Triggered

Short duration outage (2 min) in Scotts Valley triggered UCSC substation offline.   Outage occurred due to wind/rain from storm possibly causing power lines to short briefly.   Persons were trapped in elevators in 5 locations and required rescue from Santa Cruz Fire.  Lights on South side of JBEB did not come on and main stairwell was dark.

AT&T celluar was not available in JBEB or E2.  Verizon was working.  This is typical though.


1230-1330 60 PG&E initiated

Need data from heat plant.  Verbal was that PG&E had a power transmission problem which caused campus substation to trip offline.  BSOE lab freezer temperature sensors in JBEB indicated that power was lost around 12:31pm and returned 13:31pm.


0700-0746 46 PG&E initiated

PG&E had a power transmission problem around 7 am this morning, causing the campus to lose PG&E power. The Plant Operator was able to restore power to the A-1 feeder after approx. 10 minutes. A-2 Feeder took longer to restore.  A-2 provides power to the Engineering 2 Building.  Plant operator confirmed that breaker 52-03 was able to close but 52-01 did not close. 52-10 was closed around 7:32 am.

End time of 7:46 reported by ITS staff using UPS systems in E2.  Other buildings were up and running sooner.


1613- 1635 22 PG&E initiated
The main UCSC experienced a power outage today around 4:13 pm .  Power was restored to buildings in phases but most were back up by 4:35 pm.   Please check laboratory equipment  for proper operating before using.   In some cases, you may need to reset power strips.  
During this power outage, some of the emergency lighting and standby power systems in the Engineering 2 (E2) building did not appear to be operating.   This was reported to campus electricians and campus officials who are investigating.   
Physical Plant reports that the outage (on main campus only) was caused by a PG&E fault.  According to the PG&E outage website, the cause is still being assessed.