Power company says it knows cause of Super Bowl power loss
Chris Miller Reporting
Entergy New Orleans says it has zeroed in on the cause for the Superdome's power loss in the middle of Super Bowl XLVII.
Entergy New Orleans CEO Charles Rice told the New Orleans City Council's utilities committee that a relatively new piece of equipment malfunctioned.
"Through our own investigation, we have traced the cause of Sunday's outage to an electrical relay device," Rice said during the committee hearing. "The device was specifically installed to protect the Mercedes-Benz Superdome equipment in the event of a cable failure between the switch gear and the stadium."
Rice said the equipment was relatively new, having been in use since mid-December.
"The relay functioned without issue during a number of high-profile events," said Rice, including the New Orleans Bow, the New Orleans Saints/Carolina Panthers game, and the Sugar Bowl. But during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII, "the relay device triggered, signaling a switch to open when it should not have, causing the partial outage."
Council vice president Jackie Clarkson didn't sound like she was ready to just accept the company's word for it.
"Are we still going to have a test done by an independent expert?" she asked Rice.
"That is something that we will discuss with SMG," he answered. "They're team was also of the opinion that it was the relay device."
Earlier this week, Entergy and Superdome management company SMG announced they would hire an independent expert to investigate the power failure. Clarkson said that the public deserves the opinion of an expert without any apparent bias.
"We've told the public we're going to have an outside inspection by a third party, and I think we have an obligation," said Clarkson. "That's my issue."