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Posted on Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

U-M classroom building in the dark as workers try to restore power

By Kellie Woodhouse

Classes at the University of Michigan's East Hall have been canceled due to a power outage that workers say won't be fixed until 7 p.m. today.


University of Michigan's East Hall lit up at night. file photo

Several buildings on U-M's central campus lost power for more than an hour today due to a DTE power outage, said Diane Brown, spokeswoman for the U-M Police Department.

But while most buildings affected by the power outage —which hit at about 10:05 a.m.—had their power restored by noon, East Hall likely won't have power for the rest of the day, Brown said. Crews estimate a 7 p.m. power restoration.

"East Hall will remain out ... (for) most of the rest of the day until repairs can be made at a substation inside the building," Brown said.

Brown said it is unclear whether the substation malfunction is related to the power outage. She said that at least six or seven buildings on central campus were affected by the outage and lost power for about an hour. Additionally, several other buildings on or near central campus lost power for "a few seconds."

In some cases, classes meeting in rooms or auditoriums without windows had to be evacuated, Brown said.

"It all depends on their lighting situation," Brown said.

East Hall is affiliated with the school of Literature, Sciences and Arts and houses the mathematics and psychology departments. Generators were moved to the site to keep certain areas functioning, U-M officials said.

Until power is restored, the building is closed to students. While classes have been canceled, two exams have been relocated.

  • ECON 102 section 100: 6-8 p.m. in 1324 East Hall - now held in 1400 Modern Languages Building (AUD 4 MLB).
  • ECON 102 section 100 - extra time: 6-10 p.m. in 1068 East Hall - now held in 260 Dennison Building.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:45 p.m.

According to the UofM Plant Operations website, &quot;The Central Power Plant (CPP) generates and processes four main services to the University Central and Medical Campuses. These include steam, electricity, compressed air and domestic hot water.&quot; <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Obviously, the Central Power Plant does not provide emergency backup electrical power that is integrated with DTE electrical distribution grid to the University of Michigan. Along with the power station at the North Campus Research Center (the old Pfizer site), the Central Power Plant should provide emergency electrical power to university buildings. DTE should be required to explain all power outages and its efforts to prevent future outages. In addition customers subjected to power outages should be remunerated for their inconvenience and losses (like with food spoilage).


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.

UM's Plant Operations department likely responded to the power outage and sent electrician's to assess the issues. This is a common occurrence with DTE on campus and happens quite often. Full power goes out or, there are power surges. Though UM's Power Plant provides steam heating to campus buildings, electricity comes from DTE. Though if UM was smart (and they are), they really should begin looking into alternative energy sources. On North Campus (Arbor Lakes, EAAMC) it's more of a problem. North Campus houses UM's medical computers too. Sad that this monopoly can't address the only issue of their being; provide power.

Robert Pachella

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

When the substation in East Hall blew it sent a particularly intense surge throughout the building. Some people said the surge could be felt by some people who were sitting near their computers. The scary thing is that LS&amp;A IT staff, who are located in East Hall, are afraid that it might have burned out computers in the building that were operating at the time. Since there is no electricity in the building LS&amp;A IT cannot tell how many (if any) computers might have been affected. This could be a major problem.

David Cahill

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

Is any attempt being made by anyone (the City, the U of M, to keep track of all these non-weather-related outages? What does DTE Energy have to say for itself about these obvious maintenance issues?


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 2:06 a.m.

We're certainly keeping track in my lab. The power outages have been happening with increasing frequency and causing all sorts of problems with the experiments, There has been a lot of lost time lately.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 6:59 p.m.

Forget to pay your bills?


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 6:34 p.m.

I just love it when DTE helps the planet by having power outages! Thank you U of M and the students for saving the planet! I know it was unplanned but that is what makes it special! Support Random Power Outages to save the Planet! :)


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

Maybe UM can puts its weight behind efforts to get DTE to make power more reliable for all of us - UM, local businesses, and residents? When it comes to the electrical grid around here, I feel increasingly like I'm in a third-world country.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

Thank you, sarah, for the clarification! You would think a blog located in Ann Arbor would know that. Does it bother anyone else that a story about a building &quot;In the dark&quot; shows a picture of a fully lighted building? Did anyone hear the rumor that the New York Times was recruiting reporters at AA.COM? No, I haven't heard that either. Sighhhhhh . . .

Smart Logic

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

Nope. The picture is clearly labeled. It's a photo representative of the location, not of the event.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 5:08 p.m.

It's the COLLEGE of Literature, Science and the Arts, not school. Also, classes may not be cancelled but moved!


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

nyx: I didn't comment on the picture of the lighted building. Hey, at least they got the right one! Additionally, when I first posted, they hadn't updated with the relocation of exams, but they have now and, frankly, I think that's pretty cool and very useful!

Kara H

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:40 p.m.

UM doesn't have a police department either, they have a Department of Public Safety, but the point of quibbling about these semantics is what? The lit up E Hall building was clearly labeled and such and not off-putting to me. Sheesh. It's just a timely news bit, not a major piece of investigative journalism.