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Power company takes blame for Super Bowl outage

Published:Monday | February 11, 2013

The company that supplied electricity to the Super Bowl took the blame Friday for the power outage that brought the big game to a halt, explaining that a device designed specifically to prevent a blackout failed and plunged the game into darkness for more than half an hour.

The device, called a relay, had been installed to protect the Superdome from problems in the cable that links the company's incoming power line with the lines that run into the stadium.

Officials from Entergy New Orleans said the relay functioned with no problems during January's Sugar Bowl and other earlier events. It has been removed and will be replaced.

All systems at the Superdome are now working, and the dome was to host a major Mardi Gras event Saturday night, said Doug Thornton, an executive with SMG, the company that manages the stadium for the state.

The device was installed in a building near the stadium known as "the vault," which receives a line directly from a nearby Entergy substation. Once the line reaches the vault, it splits into two cables that go into the Superdome.

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

Not long after Friday's announcement, the manufacturer of the relay, Chicago-based S&C Electric Company, released a statement saying that the blackout occurred because system operators had put the device's so-called trip setting too low to allow the device to handle the incoming electric load.

The statement did not name the operators, but the equipment was owned and installed by Entergy New Orleans, a subsidiary of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp.

AP