Blackout caused by device meant to prevent it

McClatchy news servicesFebruary 9, 2013 

The power failure that plunged the Super Bowl into darkness and halted play for more than a half-hour Sunday was caused by a device installed specifically to prevent a blackout.

Entergy New Orleans, the company that supplies power to the Superdome, announced Friday that the device, called a relay, had been installed in switching gear to protect the Superdome from a cable failure between the company’s incoming power line and the lines that run into the stadium.

The device, which Entergy officials said had performed with no trouble during last month’s Sugar Bowl and other events, has since been removed and will be replaced.

The Superdome is scheduled to host a Mardi Gras event this weekend. All systems are working now, the officials said. An independent investigation, which some public officials have pressed for, remains a possibility.

Doug Thornton, an executive with SMG, which manages the Superdome, said the facility was using only about two-thirds of its power capacity Sunday night.

“I’m pleased that we were able to find the root cause,” Thornton said.

PANTHERS STADIUM DEAL

Charlotte’s City Council agreed to a plan that would give the Carolina Panthers nearly $144 million from a food-and-beverage tax hike to pay for upgrades to its downtown stadium.

Mayor Anthony Foxx said North Carolina General Assembly approval would be needed for the city to increase its prepared food-and-beverage tax by one cent. That part of the deal hasn’t been settled.

The money would be paid over 15 years and requires the team to stay in Charlotte for that period of time. That would resolve concerns from city officials that the Panthers could relocate the franchise to another city.

EXTRA POINTS

Former Cowboys assistant Rob Ryan interviewed with the Saints for their vacant defensive coordinator job. The team said Ryan met with coach Sean Payton on Friday. … The Cowboys are set to hire Browns running backs coach Gary Brown for the same job in Dallas. … NFL greats Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk are appearing in a public service announcement in favor of gun law reforms. The spot is paid for by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which was founded by New York City’s Michael Bloomberg and Boston’s Thomas Menino. … Texans nose tackle Shaun Cody is out of the hospital after undergoing back surgery. … Eagle coach Chip Kelly completed his staff, adding Dave Fipp as special-teams coordinator.

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