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The large power failure in Amsterdam yesterday morning also caused a prolonged disruption of power to the REC B/C/D building. Problems with the central energy supply made it impossible for the building to switch back to the regular mains current, as a result of which the building was closed all day.

What was the cause?

The power failure in Amsterdam activated the emergency power system at REC B/C/D. This system guarantees basic safety in the building, ensuring that doors can still be opened and that the emergency lighting is switched on. Once activated (which happened at 05:18), the emergency power system ran an automated safety procedure. During this procedure, one of the criteria failed to be met and the emergency power supply was automatically shut down, disabling the system.

Why did the malfunction take so long?

Though technicians were quickly on the scene, it took some time to identify the cause of the malfunction. Due to the prolonged power failure, the emergency batteries needed to switch back to the regular mains had run out. When power was returned to Amsterdam around 08:00, therefore, the building's power system was still in power failure mode. From that moment, every effort was made to get the system back on the regular mains current.

What will be done to prevent this situation in future?

Steps were already being taken to institute a new emergency procedure, following past problems with the REC B/C/D power supply. The new emergency procedure should be ready within one to two weeks. Beyond this, system improvements are being implemented to reduce the risk of malfunctions. An additional emergency power test was carried out yesterday afternoon to verify that the system is now working properly. This test went off without a hitch.

Take a look behind the scenes

At buildings like REC B/C/D, the systems needed to support building operation all run behind the scenes, in spots you would normally never visit. This spring, Facility Services will be organising guided tours of technical spaces inside REC B/C/D. Everyone who is interested can come and see the building's complex climate control and energy systems first hand. Invitations will be sent out shortly.