September 13, 2000

Power Outage Cripples Many in Ithaca

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Some Cornell students and many downtown Ithaca residents experienced power failures in two separate incidents yesterday evening due to the heavy thunderstorms and lightning.

The electricity went off first at Cornell locations at approximately 5:15 p.m. after lightning strikes caused “trips” in the circuit breakers in Ithaca’s electric stations, said Richard Charsky, public relations coordinator for the New York State Electric and Gas company.

The power failure affected approximately 3,100 customers in Ithaca (including The Sun) and lasted up to four hours. Areas of the Cornell community that were effected include Hasbrouck Apartments, the Ecology house and Triphammer Road. Other areas of Ithaca without electricity were Cayuga Heights, Benjamin Hill and Pleasant Grove Rd.

“It was a little strange because when the power first went out, the lights flickered on and off about four times,” remarked Christopher Francisco grad, a resident of Hasbrouck Apartments.

Approximately 10 crews were dispatched to work on the situation, and almost all service from the first outage was restored last night by 9 p.m., according to Charsky. “Any time there is a power failure related to a storm, we consider it an emergency,” he added. The three electric stations that were impaired were located in Cayuga Heights, Benjamin Hill and on Fourth St.

A second power failure occurred around 8:30 p.m. in downtown Ithaca, specifically on Green St. and Elmira Rd., impacting approximately 2,000 people. The problem was attributed to the Southhill Sub Station “tripping” out, Charsky said. Repair crews isolated the incident to a switch located near the Rothschild Building by the Commons.

While the majority of the service was restored last night by 9:30 p.m., as of midnight more than 500 residents were still without power.

Archived article by Rachel Pessah