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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, March 3, 2024


Nov. 5, 2003 – The St. Thomas campus of the University of the Virgin Islands is still feeling the effects of Monday and Tuesday's power outages and will continue to do so in coming days.
"We have lost at least one CPU, and we have had multiple power failures with other equipment," John Leipzig, chancellor of the St. Thomas campus, said on Wednesday. "It was a double whammy for us — our own generator went out, too, which exacerbated the problem."
Hardest hit, Leipzig said, was the office of Carolyn Cook, director of enrollment management. "She lost at least one computer, and there may be more," he said, adding that he was still trying to get an overview of all the campus offices and a solid estimate of the damage.
"We heard folks in the Science and Math Building had lots of voltage swings. They spiked as high as 180 volts on a 110-volt circuit," Leipzig said. "We're just not geared for spikes this big."
In Cook's office, Leipzig said, "There was a report of another computer CPU smoking at one point, as well as trouble with a copy machine. The repairman reported smoke coming out of it, and flames at one point. They shut everything down, and someone from the physical plant came over to check it out."
According to Leipzig, the campus backup generator "is off-line until Thursday at least. We are hoping WAPA can hang in there. We're keeping our fingers crossed."
He said he didn't know how much of the damage would be covered by insurance, but noted that "the generator is still under warranty."
Leipzig, who lives on campus, added: "We even had a brownout. At one point Monday evening, about 8:45, [a fixture] looked like a candle instead of a light bulb. We lost the lights for about 15 minutes." He said he was grateful that the power reduction occurred "toward the end of classes" and not earlier in the day.
Patricia Blake Simmonds, Water and Power Authority spokeswoman, said on Wednesday that WAPA was still experiencing problems. At about 11 a.m., she said, Feeders 6 and 7 had to be shut down for about an hour, affecting areas from St. Thomas's West End and North Side across to Hospital Ground.
WAPA officials had said on Monday that the utility was operating without two of the seven generators at its Krum Bay plant. The infamous Unit 22 was functioning for a while on Monday but was taken off-line early Tuesday.
The authority's one good generator, Unit 13, is still undergoing repairs, Simmonds said, and is not expected to be back online until the end of the week.

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