Why Ramapo keeps having power outages and what to expect

Photo courtesy of Ramapo College.

Ramapo has been experiencing inconsistent power issues over the past three weeks, adversely affecting varied and selective areas on campus. Last Wednesday evening, however, almost all buildings suffered a 20-minute outage followed by a brief Wi-Fi shutdown. 

After a windstorm hit Bergen County on Feb. 16, the College’s power carrier, Orange & Rockland (O&R), notified administrators that power lines which supply energy to Ramapo have been failing. These cables have since been repaired and issues caused by it are effectively resolved, campus facilities said.

“We have a constructive partnership with O&R, and they have been very responsive to us,” Vice President for Administration and Finance Kirsten Loewrigkeit said in an email. “They have recognized that disruptions to our power supply impede on our ability to provide a range of services.”

Power interruptions have coincided with other recent campus utility issues. An unexpected pump malfunction, for instance, caused residence halls, including Mackin, Bischoff and the Village, to lose their hot water. 

Loewrigkeit assured that this concern is typically addressed quickly as pump repair is routine, but has slowed once the pandemic created more circumstantial limitations to the efficacy of Ramapo’s Facilities Management.

“The pandemic has caused material shortages and shipping delays on almost all goods, including the pump parts needed for repair,” she said. “At this time, all locations have hot water, and extra parts have been ordered so a back-up supply of parts is available for future repairs.”

This does not mean, though, that similar problems will not arise again in the future. Residential students have direct contact with their respective floor assistants who can forward all work orders to Facilities. This system allows all flagged issues to be identified and tracked in one accessible space.

“We recognize that, for many of our students, Ramapo College is home, and we do our very best to ensure the campus is safe, systems are running properly, and our students and employees benefit from physical spaces that are conducive to learning, work, and growth,” she said.

Loewrigkeit urges students to communicate all present power and water issues to Public Safety or the Facilities service desk as quickly as possible. Once the departments are notified, the problems can be resolved promptly.

“It is always our intention to address issues in a timely manner, however, there can be extenuating circumstances that cause longer than desired delays,” Loewrigkeit said. “Unfortunately, things will break, but we are here to fix them, and we appreciate the support of the College community when that happens.”