Power outage affects all of Ames


Photo: Kelsey Kremer/Iowa State

ISU Dining staff serve people visiting the university for camps and other activities while in the dark on Tuesday, June 19, in Seasons Marketplace during a power outage. Seasons still served dinner to the 500 to 600 people they had expected to serve. The serving areas and tables were lit with battery powered lanterns. 

Katelynn Mccollough

Update: June 19, 10:41 p.m.

ISU news service tweeted at 10:41 p.m. that power had been restored to all campus buildings as of 10:30 p.m.

Update June 19, 9:37 p.m.

At 9:37 p.m. ISU news service tweeted that 20 or so campus buildings are still awaiting power, but the rest of campus is back online. 

Update June 19, 7:25 p.m.

At 7:22 p.m., ISU news service tweeted that Beardshear Hall, Morrill Hall, the Hub, Friley Hall, Human Nutritional Sciences Building, Bessey Hall, Kildee Hall, General Services, Meat Laboratory, Physics Hall and Science Hall had all regained power.

Ames experienced a citywide power outage shortly before 3 p.m. with several areas, including the Mary Greeley Medical Center, having restored power just minutes after the loss of electricity.

Susan Gwiasda, the public information officer for the city of Ames, said all of Ames lost power, though reasons for the outage were initially unclear. Power is being restored to the community in sections.

Jeff Witt, director of utilities at the ISU Power Plant, said a main transmission 161,000-volt line had been tripped. Witt was unsure of the reason for this main line to be tripped but said it was “possibly a tree branch.”

City officials confirmed that a tree limb tripped the transmission line between the Stange Road substation and the Boone Junction substation and was the cause for the power outage.

The tree branch has since been cleared from the transmission line.

Brian Trower, assistant director or electric for Ames, said in a statement, “When that [transmission] tripped, our local generation at Ames Power Plant did not match the load we were trying to serve, which creates a situation called ‘under frequency.'”

Since the Ames Power Plant could not meet the higher demand for electricity, the entire city lost power.

The tree branch has been cleared from the transmission line.

One worker at the ISU Power Plant was taken by ambulance from the facility due to heat exhaustion just after 4 p.m.

The ISU Police Department began to help in the direction of traffic after the power outage and asks people not to overburden the phone lines with non-emergency calls.

Annette Hacker, director of communications for Iowa State, said power will return to the university in several hours, but air conditioning may not return until closer to midnight.

Parks Library is closed due to the outage, and Memorial Union has also locked its doors. Neither building has reported when they will reopen.

Seasons and the Union Drive Market Place will have regular dining hours tonight but will be serving only salad bar, deli sandwiches and water.

All orientation programs will continue on as scheduled on Wednesday. However, all activities for orientation Tuesday night are cancelled.

All emergency calls should be made to the ISU Police at (515) 294-4428 or 911.

Follow updates on Twitter @iowastatedaily or @IowaStateUNews.

Check back for more updates as details emerge.