Power outage, July 17th, 2016.

Roughly a quarter of the top half of Niels Henrik Abels Hus experienced a prolonged power outage on Thursday the 14th of July.

Just after noon on Thursday the 14th of July a circuit breaker failed catastrophically on the 12th floor of Niels Henrik Abels Hus. This failure caused a cascading set of failures that eventually took out the main circuit breaker for the power shaft covering floors 6 through 12 of the southeastern part of the building. Due to the nature of the original failure, and the complexity in insuring no further damage, it took almost five hours for power to be safely restored. Fortunately, no-one was injured by the event. The cause, based on the information at hand, was human error during installation of the circuit breaker module in question.

From a departemental point of view, the primary issue experienced was that all our networking equipment serving floors six and up are served, one way or another, from the power shaft that failed. The lack of power to our networking backbone meant that all the departments machines were left without network connectivity, which caused the remaining machines that had power to freeze, hang, or otherwise become unresponsive.

The unfortunate dependencies involved in this matter are a consequence of how the building was constructed over 50 years ago and there are very few options of how to provide redundancies in situations such as these. This is something we are aware of as the building is being upgraded, but there is no clear timeframe on when we can see the electrical environment upgraded to a point where situations such as these are prevented. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Published July 16, 2016 2:43 AM - Last modified July 16, 2016 2:43 AM