Updated Saturday, Oct. 12, 12:15 p.m.
General Shut-Down Information
Q: Is the power off at the Lab, and when will it go back on?
A: PG&E shut off power to the Lab’s main location at 12:18 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10, as winds were predicted to increase, and shutting off power reduces the risk of starting a wildfire. The Lab’s main location on the hill is closed until further notice. Other Lab locations, including JGI, Emery Station East, Potter Street, and OCFO, remain open.
Q: Why did PG&E shut down power to the Lab’s main site?
A: PG&E considers multiple criteria when determining if power should be turned off. These include red flag warnings, low humidity levels, forecasted sustained winds, condition of dry fuel and other on-the-ground, real-time information (see PG&E criteria here). It is important to note that power can be shut down even if a wildfire or wildfire conditions are not near the Lab. PG&E has shut down major transmission lines, so the areas that have lost power can be distant from an actual or potential wildfire.
Q: When will the Lab be reopened?
A: A public safety power shutdown is unprecedented for the Lab and for northern California. The main hill site will remain closed until PG&E restores power and the Lab has safely restarted our facilities and operations. PG&E has informed its customers that once power is turned off, it will remain off until its crews can inspect power lines and repair any damage, a process that can take days. At this time, it is unclear when the Lab will reopen. Please continue to watch status.lbl.gov for updates on the situation.
Q: Why am I not allowed on the site during a power shutdown?
A: We want you to be safe. During a power shutdown, most Lab power-reliant services, such as building lighting and ventilation, will not be available. In addition, normal Lab safety services may not be available, and the absence of power may additionally cause unexpected, potentially unsafe conditions. To keep everyone safe, the Lab needs to minimize the number of people on-site, and know who is on-site and what they are doing. Only those personnel necessary for emergency operations, and included on the Lab’s previously approved emergency-critical personnel list, will be permitted on the main site during the closure. If you have a critical need for access to the site, contact 510-495-2597.
Q: What’s happening on the hill site?
A: The Lab’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been activated and will stay activated until power has been restored and normal operations have resumed. The EOC is staffed by emergency management personnel as well as subject matter experts from the Lab’s mission areas and operations groups. Safety personnel are conducting walkthroughs of buildings and facilities to ensure that everything is in safe shutdown mode and there are no indicators of unexpected problems.
User Facility Statuses
Q: What’s the status at NERSC, and who can NERSC users contact for information?
A: Cori will be offline for the duration of the outage, but file systems and login nodes may stay up. NERSC users can refer to the normal status website: https://www.nersc.gov/live-status/motd/ or https://nersc-status.lbl.gov. We expect these websites to remain operational through the power outage, and will be updated frequently. You may contact NERSC Operations at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 666-3772 for questions, but please do not call to ask when the outage will be over. The situation is fluid, and our power utility is not providing specific guidance.
Q: What’s the status at JGI, and who can JGI users contact for information?
A: JGI’s facility in Walnut Creek is currently operational (employees are reporting to work). Because many of JGI’s data systems (Genome Portal, MycoCosm, PhycoCosm, IMG/M) are dependent on NERSC, they are not currently accessible. DNA sequencing activities (which archive data through these same data repositories) have been suspended, thus interrupting user support. JGI’s Project Management Office has already been in touch with JGI’s user base and notices have been posted on the various portal landing pages. The JGI proposal submission site (WIP) is down. Who to contact: “Public” inquiries: David Gilbert, email@example.com; 925-296-5643. Technical computing issues/status: Kjiersten Fagnan, JGI CIO, 510-220-5444; DNA Sequencing infrastructure: Chris Daum, Genomic Technologies, 925-296-5623.
Q: What’s the status at the ALS, and who can ALS users contact for information?
A: The ALS has been safely shut down and will remain so for the duration of the power outage. Our user portal, ALSHub, will also be down. Once power is restored, multiple checks will need to be made; we expect the ALS startup to take at least 8 hours depending on many variables. The ALS has contacted users with upcoming beam time who may be impacted by the power outage. Our goal is to provide updates at least every 24 hours, which will be posted to https://als.lbl.gov/als-status-update/. Currently, users with beam time scheduled October 9–13 have been informed of potential impacts. We will give as much advance notice as possible of our return to normal operations, but we cannot predict at this time when that will be. Contact: Andreas Scholl, firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What’s the status at ESnet, and who can ESnet users contact for information?
A: Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) will be operational during this outage. ESnet connectivity (including Internet access) to NERSC and LBNL may be impacted depending upon generator status at LBNL. For all issues related to ESnet, please contact the Network Operations Center via email, email@example.com or phone (510) 486-7607. ESnet provides live statistics for network traffic from its sites at https://my.es.net/sites/list
Q: What’s the status at the Molecular Foundry, and who can Foundry users contact for information?
A: The Molecular Foundry will remain shut down for the duration of the outage. Once Berkeley Lab is reopened, we anticipate our general spaces to be available to users. Individual laboratories and instruments should come online within a few business hours, depending on the inherent challenges and limitations of the systems involved. Please note that some Foundry staff will be working remotely during the shut down, including being available by email to users, however, some may also be impacted by power outages in their homes that may limit their responsiveness.
Contact: Michael Wisherop, Facilities and EHS Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 486-7407
Q: How do I recover lost work/data as a result of the shut-off?
A: Work with your local IT support to identify how your information is backed up and restored. For staff using Druva for backups, restoring data is self-service once power and networking are restored. Information on restoration is available here. The IT Helpdesk is available to assist with restorations, as well as to assist with system and data restoration.
Q: What is the current and expected status of Lab IT systems?
A: Visit it-status.lbl.gov for information.
Time-Keeping & Payroll
Q: How should I charge my time during the shutdown?
A: It depends on your official work location: If your official work location is at the main site (Hill), which has been officially closed by Michael Brandt, Deputy Director, Operations and Chief Operating Officer, and you are unable to work remotely, you will charge your time to the “authorized leave” account in LETS, which represents authorized leave with pay. If you are able to work remotely, your time should be charged to the benefitting project(s).
If your official worksite is at an offsite location (eg. Potter, JGI, Emeryville, etc), you are expected to productively work at the offsite location, telecommute, or work at an alternate location, and your time should be charged to the benefitting project(s).
Q: If my official work location is at an offsite location that is open with power and I am telecommuting, how do I charge my time?
A: You are expected to work at your official or alternate offsite location with power. However, if you choose not to work, you would charge your time to vacation.
Q: If my official work location is at an offsite location that is open with power, and I am telecommuting, and my power goes out at home while I am working, how do I charge my time?
A: You are expected to work at your official or alternate offsite location with power. However, if you choose not to work for the remainder of your workday, you would charge time not worked to vacation.
Q: I get paid bi-weekly. When will I get paid?
A: Bi-weekly employees with direct deposit will receive their pay as normal on 10/11/19. For employees who have checks routed to a mail stop at the main site or to a home address, their checks will be mailed today to the address on record. Direct Deposit Advice notices will not be mailed and will be routed when the main site is reopened.
Q: Will the shuttles be running?
A: There will be no shuttle service to and from the Lab main site. The Potter Street shuttle route will be running between Potter Street, JBEI, and the downtown Berkeley BART station, but it will not continue up Hearst to the main hill site. Shuttle drivers will attempt to stay on the normal schedule, but delays are possible. Utilize NextBus for the most accurate route timing.
Q: What is the status of the Berkeley Lab Guest House?
A: The Guest House is closed while the lab is shut down. Once the shutdown was confirmed, the Guest House staff contacted all guests arriving Tuesday through Thursday to let them know that we are unable to accommodate them. Guests who were already at the Guest House were redirected to local hotels expected to have power. Any guests who were staying Friday night onward were told that we hope to accommodate them but that we are dependent on PG&E resuming power to the site.
Q: Is there someone I can talk with if I’m anxious about the power shutoff?
A: The UC Berkeley Employee Assistance Program is scheduled to be open during the power outage. They can help you with issues related to this shutdown or from similar experiences. Contact the EAP office at (510) 643-7754 or email@example.com
More info: https://uhs.berkeley.edu/bewellatwork/employee-assistance
More questions and answers will be added as information is updated.