Major power outage stops tram traffic in the Uithof, buildings evacuated

Due to a power failure, the Uithoflijn tram line could not operate. Photo: DUB

The power outage began around 12:15 pm, when three electricity cables were hit during renovation works at the new RIVM building. According to energy supplier Stedin, the problem was solved around 2:00 pm. 'Only' 150 connections were affected by the outage, said a Stedin spokesperson. "Normally that isn't considered much, but because the university buildings were covered by these connections, the impact was significant." 

The new tram line connecting Utrecht Central Station to the Science Park, also known as "Uithoflijn", was one of the services interrupted by the power outage. Bus operator U-OV did its best to compensate for the temporary lack of trams. They are now running again, according to the usual timetable.

Eleven university buildings, including the Educatorium, the Kruytgebouw and the Buys Ballot building had to be evacuated because of the outage. “That's protocol. The buildings are now gradually reopening,” said UU spokesman Maarten Post. Systems must first be reset and, in some cases, extra ventilation must be provided to the buildings before people can enter them again.

Manual call points were used in the Buys Ballot building and the Vening Meinesz building to speed up the evacuation, but there was no actual risk of fire. Research being conducted in these buildings was probably affected by the power outage, but research processes considered crucial are connected to emergency power sources. 

No exams scheduled to happen in UU buildings had to be canceled because of the power outage. “Exams were scheduled in the Educatorium at 3:15 pm. It was a bit exciting to see if they could go ahead or not, but in the end we succeeded,” said Post. 

Students living in De Uithof, however, were unable to attend online classes. Residents of Casa Confetti seem to have suffered the most, as they were completely without electricity for several hours. Residents of the Bishops, Johanna and Cambridgelaan were able to access the Internet more quickly. Due to the malfunction, there was also a lift confinement on the Heidelberglaan, RTV Utrecht reports.