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Students in off-campus apartments left without gas because of gas line repairs

The Palo Verde and Tipuana university apartment buildings are pictured. Residents of the apartments reported significant service outages after a gas shutoff. (Eva Danesh/Daily Bruin)

By Dylan Winward

Dec. 12, 2023 5:04 p.m.

This post was updated Dec. 12 at 9:25 p.m. 

Residents in some university-owned apartment buildings, including Palo Verde, Weyburn Terrace and Tipuana, reported outages to cooking, hot water and laundry services as a result of an emergency gas line being repaired Monday.

In an emailed statement, a UCLA Housing spokesperson said gas was shut down in order to repair a gas line after a leak on the southern part of campus.

“On Sunday night at approximately 8:00 p.m., a natural gas leak was identified on south campus, prompting the shutdown of gas service to 1,135 student-housing units,” they said in the statement. “UCLA Housing and Facilities Management swiftly engaged with SoCalGas to address and resolve the issue. Teams have been working around the clock to ensure a prompt restoration of gas services.”

UCLA Housing added in the statement that gas services are expected to be restored starting Wednesday, with some buildings potentially receiving hot water as early as Tuesday evening. On Tuesday evening, hot water was restored to the Palo Verde residential building, with the use of appliances expected to be restored after testing Wednesday, according to an email sent to residents. 

In an email sent to some university apartment residents Monday morning, UCLA Housing reported that this impacts residents’ ability to access hot water, cooking appliances and laundry dryers.

Maggie Higginbotham, a third-year business economics student who lives in the Palo Verde apartment building, said she is no longer able to do her laundry in her building before she flies home for winter break because of the outage.

She added that she would have appreciated if UCLA could have given residents the ability to do their laundry in other buildings, something that has not yet been offered.

In another email sent around noon the same day, UCLA Housing said the gas company may need to access some residential apartments in order to fix the problem. UCLA Housing also sent a third email to residents at around 5 p.m. Monday stating that gas would not be restored that day.

Higginbotham said that as of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, gas had still not been restored, and residents had received no further communication from the university.

UCLA Housing added in the third email that the university is offering hot showers at the John Wooden Center, free snacks and hot beverages in the Weyburn Commons third-floor study lounge and the Tipuana multi-purpose room, and the opportunity to purchase food from food trucks stationed near the apartments.

Higginbotham added that the outage has led to food that residents had already bought or prepared being wasted. Although UCLA Housing has attempted to mitigate the impact by bringing in food trucks, she said she would have appreciated the university paying for their meals, as residents currently have to pay $9.50 per meal at the food trucks.

Higginbotham also said the outage is adding to the stress of finals week, especially since residents are unable to take hot showers.

“It’s colder in our apartments. The existing environment is just a little bit more uncomfortable,” she said. “There’s also limited ability to do other things that might be somewhat relaxing. I know some people like taking a long shower in hot water to relax their bodies, but they’re not able to do that.”

UCLA Housing is working to financially compensate residents for the inconvenience, it said in the third email to residents.

“All students affected by this outage will be credited their housing charges for the duration of the outage,” it said in the email.

However, Higginbotham said there had been little transparency about the amount of the reimbursement or when gas access would be reinstated, adding that having more information would help students to plan the rest of their week.

“It’d be nice of them to give a more realistic timeline on what they’re expecting,” she said. “I’m sure they have at least a general idea of what will be done before finals week is up,” she said.

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Dylan Winward | Features and student life editor
Winward is the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. He was previously a News reporter for campus politics and features and student life. He is also a second-year statistics and english literature student.
Winward is the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. He was previously a News reporter for campus politics and features and student life. He is also a second-year statistics and english literature student.
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