URGENT: Classes Canceled Wednesday, November 9 Due to Power Outage

October 8, 2019

We have been informed by PG&E that most of the core campus will be without power starting at approximately 8 a.m. Wednesday, part of the utility’s plans to shut off power in most Bay Area counties over the next few days to guard against fire dangers that may accompany anticipated high winds.

As a result, campus officials have decided that all classes will be canceled on Wednesday.  The campus, however, will remain open, though services will be limited. Most student-serving offices will be open, however the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union and Eshelman Hall will be closed.

All employees will be paid and most will not be required to come into work. We are encouraging managers to be flexible with all employees. However, critical employees will be expected to come in to work. Employees who are uncertain if they are a critical employee or if they should report to work, should check with their dean or unit manager.

Regarding classes on Thursday and Friday, campus officials will monitor the latest information from PG&E on Wednesday and will alert the campus community by mid-day Wednesday whether classes will be held the following day.

To ensure you are getting the latest campus alerts as quickly as possible, please sign up for text alerts from WarnMe: warnme.berkeley.edu . Updates and information geared to specific audiences will be posted on Berkeley News.

The core campus is impacted by the PG&E shutoff of because our power lines are fed by transformers in the East Bay hills, which are under a Red Flag Alert for extreme wildfire danger starting Wednesday at 5 a.m. 

Not all campus buildings will be without power because some are not on the core campus and consequently not receiving power from that impacted PG&E power line in the hills. Clark Kerr  and other residence halls on the south side of campus, University Health Services, and other locations will have power. Some buildings with life and public safety functions will have backup generator capacity and consequently will continue to have limited power.

Early indicators are that the campus outage will last up to 48 hours, but we will monitor conditions and review campus actions as needed. Campus leaders are currently working to ensure appropriate accommodations for disabled students, appropriate gradual shut off for critical labs, and other measures. Because it is likely that elevator service will be intermittent, staff with mobility issues are encouraged not to come in to work.

Various campus units – including those working with labs, principal investigators, Intercollegiate Athletics – will receive additional messages about this matter with more specific information tailored to the planning needs for those units.  

The Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate's Committee on Courses and Instruction will provide guidance and policies for course instructors to faculty to assist them in managing the disruption to classes.

Below are additional sources of information about the PG&E shutoff and related information:

Emergency prep at homehttps://sites.google.com/lbl.gov/emergencies/emergency-management/preparing-for-an-emergency

Weather and Power Shut offshttps://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/emergency-preparedness/natural-disaster/wildfires/psps-weather-map.page

Berkeley mayor’s information for residents of the city of Berkeley https://www.jessearreguin.com/blog-1/psps

Thank you for your patience as we work within this evolving situation.

Marc Fisher

Vice Chancellor, Administration

Alicia Johnson
Director, Office of Emergency Management