October 21, 2019

The rumble of diesel generators will continue at Conestoga’s Doon campus at least until the end of the week, as work crews continue repairs to the campus’s main underground electrical feed.

Doon campus facilities supervisor Brian Erb said Wednesday that completion of the work by the end of the coming weekend is the “best-case scenario.” The extremely cold weather is complicating repair efforts as well, he said.

The main power feed to the Doon campus failed last Saturday morning, causing more than 3,000 homes and businesses to lose power for a few hours. Hydro crews were able to restore power to the majority of the grid; however, Conestoga College was forced to rent diesel-powered electric generators to keep the campus running this week. The bill for diesel fuel alone, one college official estimated, could surpass the $100,000 mark.

According to Mark Dixon, a clerk for Kitchener Wilmot Hydro, power to the college cannot be restored until the main cables on Conestoga’s property are repaired. “We have a supporting guarantee with the college to fix the problem on their end and then we will restore power,” Dixon said earlier this week.

The equipment that failed is the responsibility of the college and not the public. It is not yet known whether the cost of the repairs will be insured, but college officials are optimistic about that possibility.

In the meantime, Erb said, college facilities staff are trying to ensure they’re being as efficient as possible with the diesel-generated power.

“We’re doing the best we can to be efficient with the generators. We have to make sure almost everything is running as required for the heating systems,” he said.

The generators on campus come from L.M. Generating Power Co. Ltd., based in Mississauga, Ont.

— with files from Sarah Gilder

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