Device meant to prevent cable failure to blame for Super Bowl blackout

Entergy announced that a faulty device designed to prevent cable failure was the cause of the 34-minute blackout during the Super Bowl. 

Charlie Riedel/AP
Fans and members of the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers wait for power to return in the Superdome during a power outage in the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, Sunday, in New Orleans.

The Superdome's power company took the blame Friday for the Super Bowl blackout, saying the cause was a faulty device that had been installed in its switching gear and designed to prevent a failure of electric cables leading to the stadium.

Officials of Entergy New Orleans, a subsidiary of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., said the device, called a relay, had been installed to protect the Superdome from a cable failure between the company's incoming power line and lines that run into the stadium.

Company officials said the device performed without problem during January's Sugar Bowl and other earlier events.

They said the device has been removed and replacement equipment will be installed.

The power failure at Sunday's big game cut lights to about half of the stadium for 34 minutes, halting play between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.

Officials of the power company and the company that manages the stadium for the state had said earlier this week that they believed the problem originated in the switching gear, which is housed in a building known as "the vault" near the stadium. The Superdome has a direct line feeding from a nearby Entergy power substation. Once the line reaches the vault, it splits into two cables that then go into the Superdome.

The FBI had ruled out cyberterrorism as a cause.

The announcement came as Entergy officials prepared to go before a committee of the City Council on Friday for questions about the outage. The council is the regulatory body for the company.

SMG and Entergy announced earlier this week that they had been unable to find a specific cause for the outage and would hire an independent consultant. It wasn't immediately clear whether they would go through with the hiring.

The electrical equipment had been replaced after stadium manager's expressed concerns the Superdome might be vulnerable to a power failure like the one that struck Candlestick Park during a 49ers Monday Night Football game in 2011.

City officials had worried that the outage might harm New Orleans' chances of getting another Super Bowl.

But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell downplayed that possibility after the outage, saying the NFL planned to keep New Orleans in its Super Bowl plans. Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the city intends to bid for the NFL's 2018 championship game.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.