Dear Lafayette students, faculty, and staff:

As you know, the Easton area has experienced two power outages in the last two weeks that have impacted the College. Unfortunately, the 171 residents of six on-campus buildings (Chi Phi, Lavender Lane, Conway, Pi Phi, Alpha Phi, and Delta Upsilon) have experienced much longer delays in having electrical power restored after both of these outages. The students residing in these six residence halls have endured a lot as a result of these extended outages, and all of us in the senior administration sincerely apologize to them for the inconveniences and stress that these predicaments have created. 

Now that power has been fully restored on campus, we thought you may want to know what we have learned from these problems and the steps that the College is taking to prevent them in the future. 

The facts behind these outages are as follows:

  • The Sept. 6 power outage resulted from a fallen tree off campus along Bushkill Drive near Route 22 that destroyed a utility pole and several attached power lines. 
  • The Sept. 12 power outage resulted from large branches that fell near the same location.
  • Power to these six residence halls is currently on a different electrical grid with Met-Ed–the local utility company that supplies electricity to the College–than the rest of campus. 
  • When power outages occur, Met-Ed typically prioritizes fixing the largest distributions of electricity first. While this approach enables Met-Ed to return power quickly to most of campus, it also leaves Lafayette residence halls that are not on the same grid waiting longer for those repairs, including these six residence halls. 

The College has taken several steps to support those impacted the most by the recent power outages and is also making changes that will help mitigate and prevent future power outages:

  • Immediately:
    • We are using the student emergency fund to reimburse students in the six residence halls who lost perishable food during the power outages.
    • In the event an outage affects these six residence halls, we will expedite the deployment of temporary emergency generators. These generators will keep the emergency lighting and fire alarms operating until full power is restored.
    • We have begun working with Met-Ed to shorten their response time to outages.
    • We will be carefully removing precarious trees and tree limbs to reduce the risks of their cutting power, as happened in both recent incidents.
  • Intermediate fix (to be completed within 6-8 months):
    • We will be installing permanent generators for the six residence halls (Chi Phi, Lavender Lane, Conway, Pi Phi, Alpha Phi, Delta Upsilon) to serve as back-up power sources in the event an outage affects them. In the event such an outage recurs, these generators will ensure these residence halls have all necessary electricity (e.g., for lighting, hot water, heat, campus network (WiFi), outlets, and more).
  • Permanent fix (to be completed within 18 months):
    • We will install a second campus-wide generator and an automatic transfer switch. These changes will mean that it will not matter that some spaces on campus operate on a separate electrical grid from the rest of campus. Should a power outage occur, power would be restored equally fast to all parts of campus. 

We appreciate everyone’s patience and support for one another through the recent power outages and as we make these important improvements to our utility operations. 

Annette Diorio

Vice President for Student Life

Scott Kennedy

Director of Facilities Operations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use basic HTML tags and attributes.