The Closer: WBS Power Outage

Several of you have e-mailed me to ask what exactly happened Saturday night regarding the power outage at Williams-Brice Stadium.  I spoke with our Associate AD for Facilities and Operations Jeff Davis and here is the full e-mail response:

The power outage was caused by an  SCE&G (utilities provider) fuse link (fuse) that went bad or (melted down) over time, due to the power load and demand to operate the stadium.  This outage caused the stadium to have what is called “single phase power”.  There are three phases or lines of power that are supplied to the transformer substation at WBS; when one of the three lines were lost, there were only two lines of power in operation.

The stadium has what is called a DELTA connection that allows power to back feed to line that was lost.  This prevented the stadium from having a total power outage; the outage primarily affected half of the west side of the stadium inclusive of all elevators, concourse and interior lighting, air conditioning systems, ESPN TV production power and the in-house video production studio.

A fuse link melt down versus a fuse link blow out (which is loud boom & fuse hanging down) takes longer to diagnose or determine, the extent of the power problem.  SCE&G technicians who are on-site for each home game along with University High Voltage and electrical personnel, after trouble shooting and responding to multiple calls that were being received, determined the extent of the problem; SCE&G then replaced the damaged fuse link (fuse) and restored power in less than one hour from the first sign of problems.

Because the stadium was operating on two lines of power, there were numerous breakers that had tripped and had to be reset in multiple electrical rooms;  for lighting throughout the affected areas, for the west side elevators, for air conditioning systems,  the ESPN TV production power and in-house video production etc.  (Normally, TV will bring generators to operate their production and satellite units-this production was smaller and did not, utilizing the stadium or house power).  (Breaker reset) This process is methodical and is not a quick fix.  This total reset of breakers was complete just before half-time of the game.

On Tuesday, SCE&G will change out the three fuses that supply the main power to the stadium (an upgrade from 150 amps to 200 amp fuses)  The University High Voltage and Electrical departments will also upgrade the six secondary power fuses from 100 amps to 150 amp fuses. This upgrade will safely regulate the power and prevent future overloads from occurring.

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