Cesar Tordesillas

The reason for the power outage that delayed the Super Bowl for roughly 35 minutes has been traced to newly installed device meant to protect Superdome equipment, according to utility company Entergy New Orleans.

Company representatives told city officials that the electrical relay device triggered when it shouldn't have, resulting in a partial electrical outage that interrupted the third quarter of the NFL title game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.

New Orleans officials expressed concern over the outage, saying it could affect the city's potential to attract future big-ticket events.

Energy New Orleans CEO Charles Rice informed city council members that the faulty device has already been removed, while the company is still trying to determine what caused it to malfunction.

However, Rice assured that the dome's electrical system is ready to go and steps are in place to ensure a malfunction doesn't happen again.

"Rest assured, the Superdome is fully functional," Rice told the New Orleans City Council's utility committee Friday morning.

SMG, the company that manages the dome, concurred with the finding, which Rice said came through Entergy's own testing.

According to Energy official Dennis Dawsey, the device was part the company's 2011-2012 project to improve electrical reliability at the dome.

Dawsey said they replaced transformers and put in a switch gear, which is designed to cut some power to prevent a larger outage in the event of a problem.

The faulty relay device had been installed to protect Superdome equipment in the event of a cable failure between the switch gear and the stadium.

Before the Super Bowl, the device functioned properly during three major events -- the New Orleans Bowl, a Saints-Panthers NFL game, and the Sugar Bowl.


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


Newly Installed Device Blamed for Superdome Power Outage - Super Bowl 47