YSU’s electrical system remains reliable despite recent outages

Despite unplanned power outages in Fedor Hall last month, officials indicate that there are no major problems with Youngstown State University’s electrical loop.

YSU does not produce its own power. Instead, the university purchases electricity and, through a substation, distributes power to all campus buildings. Since July, YSU has spent $1,846,309.48 on electrical usage — or approximately $8,000 per day.

William Haas, associate director of engineering at YSU, is responsible for billing, delivery and maintenance of the university’s utilities. Haas said a handful of power outages have occurred since November.

While most of these outages were planned for maintenance purposes, Fedor Hall unexpectedly lost power twice in January. These outages occurred when maintenance workers replaced the cables that supply Stambaugh Stadium with power.

Management activity tripped a digital current sensor, which caused the outages, Haas said, adding that this maintenance is required to keep the electrical system operational.

“The system is constantly being upgraded and repaired. This is both due to age and to newer safety and monitoring requirements,” Haas said.

John Hyden, executive director of facilities, said periodic maintenance must be performed on the system.

“There have been and always will be component failures,” Hyden wrote in an email. “But in general, our system is in very good condition and is quite reliable.”

Hyden explained that the original electrical loop was installed in the early 1970s.

Since then, many of its components have been replaced.

”Most of the original high voltage cable was replaced over the last 10 to 15 years, as was much of the switchgear,” Hyden wrote. “One of the three main transformers at the substation was destroyed about 15 years ago and was replaced.”

YSU’s electrical loop is constantly updated because it would not be cost effective to replace the whole system.

“The entire system to replace in kind new is in the millions of dollars,” Haas said.