Friday, February 8, 2013

City Council questions Entergy on Super Bowl power failure

Posted By on Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 11:03 AM

New Orleans City Council's Utility Committee today held a special meeting with officials from Entergy and the Superdome to investigate the cause of a power outage that led to a 30-minute interruption in play during the Super Bowl. The meeting came shortly after the company issued a statement placing fault with an electrical relay device that mistakenly triggered during the game.

Though District D Councilwoman and committee chair Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said in a prepared statement that the meeting was intended for fact-finding purposes rather than a "laying of fault," she and other Council members occasionally appeared to betray frustration with the company.

"Where do you go now? You've narrowed it to the relay switch. You're now going to do something to correct that," she said to Entergy New Orleans CEO Charles Rice, requesting that the company perform third-party inspections and equipment testing. "What are you going to do to ensure the integrity is there?"

Rice and Entergy Louisiana vice president for transmission and distribution Dennis Dawsey told council members they are still determining why the device — manufactured by Chicago company S&C Electric and installed to protect Superdome equipment — failed.

"That's what we're still investigating," Dawsey said.

[1 p.m.] Times-Picayune reporter Richard Thompson got in touch with S&C. The company blames Entergy for the failure.

(More after the jump)

Dawsey said the system was installed in July and energized for the stadium in December and was functional during the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Bowl and the late December Saints-Panthers game. In addition, Rice, said, Entergy officials were monitoring the equipment in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, including during halftime show rehearsals.

"Prior to this event, we had been monitoring everything going on at the Superdome," Rice said, calling the failure an "anomaly."

Rice said the company would determine whether third-party analyses would be necessary as internal investigations — between Entergy and Superdome management company SMG — continue.

"We are certain this was the issue," Rice said, to which council Vice President Jackie Clarkson responded, "You were also certain this would work, Charles."

Hedge-Morrell closed the meeting by calling for the company to submit a full report on the failure to City Council once its investigation was complete. Rice agreed.

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