National News

Feb 8, 2013 1:22 PM by Associated Press

Super Bowl power outage caused by device designed to prevent outages

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - It was supposed to prevent a power outage -- but it ended up causing one.

The utility that serves the New Orleans Superdome says the cause of the 34-minute partial blackout during the Super Bowl was the failure of an electrical device that had been installed in switching gear. It was supposed to protect the arena from a cable failure between the utility's incoming power line and the lines that run into the Superdome.

Today's announcement from the utility, Entergy, came shortly before company officials appeared before City Council members to answer questions about the outage. It stopped play early in the third quarter in the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.

Company officials say the device performed with no problems during earlier events, but it has now been removed and will be replaced.

Earlier, the utility and the company that manages the stadium had said they would hire a third-party investigator to pinpoint the cause of the blackout. The head of the utility told city council members today that the investigator might still be hired.

An electrical engineering professor at Louisiana State says the relay device is common at massive facilities like the Superdome. He says it's "not unusual for them to have problems."



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