There were a number of "firsts" at Superbowl LXVII (that's 47, for those of you who don't speak Roman numerals): the first (albeit unsuccessful) fake field goal attemp; a 108-yard kick off return for a touchdown; and a more than 30-minute long power outage, that left the New Orleans Superdome mostly dark, except for emergency back up lighting. One fact that cannot be denied: although the cause of the unprecedented "lights out" is still under investigation, it took place in the service area of Entergy New Orleans. However, Entergy, at least initially, has denied any responsibility.
'...Philip Allison, a spokesman for Entergy New Orleans, said power had been flowing into the stadium before the lights failed.
"All of our distribution and transmission feeds going into the Superdome were operating as expected," Allison said...'
Ironically, the New Orleans Silverdome also figured centrally in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August-September 2005, as a shelter of last resort for thousands of survivors.
Entergy, the national headquarters of which is in New Orleans, operates a "dirty dozen" atomic reactors across the U.S., including Waterford and Riverbend in Louisiana, Grand Gulf in Mississippi, and Arkansas Nuclear One, Units 1 & 2.
'Entergy and SMG, the company that manages the Superdome, issued a joint statement explaining the power loss:
“A piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system. Once the issue was detected, the sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue. Backup generators kicked in immediately as designed.
“Entergy and SMG subsequently coordinated start-up procedures, ensuring that full power was safely restored to the Superdome. The fault-sensing equipment activated where the Superdome equipment intersects with Entergy’s feed into the facility. There were no additional issues detected. Entergy and SMG will continue to investigate the root cause of the abnormality.”'
The New York Post also reported on this story, including finger pointing between Entergy, the Superdome, and the NFL. The New Orleans Police Department is reported to have said a power surge entering the Superdome caused the outage -- which would have been Entergy's fault.
We are still in the dark, so to speak, as to why the lights went out on 76,000 fans in the Superdome, and 108,400,000 Americans watching the Super Bowl on television.
'...On Tuesday, Superdome officials and the power provider Entergy New Orleans said they had failed to find a cause for the outage. They added they would hire a consultant to analyze their data. It wasn't clear how long an investigation would take.
"We thought it was important to get another party looking at this to make sure we were looking at everything that we need to," Entergy spokesman Chanel Lagarde said...
Both Entergy and SMG [the company that manages the Superdome] said Sunday that an "abnormality" occurred where stadium equipment intersects with an Entergy electric feed, causing a breaker to create the outage. It remained unclear what the abnormality was or why it occurred.'
'...The exact cause of Sunday night's blackout -- and who's to blame -- remained unclear late Monday, though a couple of potential culprits had been ruled out.
It wasn't Beyonce's electrifying halftime performance, according to Doug Thornton, manager of the state-owned Superdome, since the singer had her own generator. And it apparently wasn't a case of too much demand for power. Meters showed the 76,000-seat stadium was drawing no more electricity than it does during a typical New Orleans Saints game, Thornton said...
...The problem that caused the outage was believed to have happened around the spot where a line that feeds current from Entergy New Orleans connects with the Superdome's electrical system, officials said. But whether the fault lay with the utility or with the Superdome was not clear.
Determining the cause will probably take days, according to Dennis Dawsey, a vice president for distribution and transmission for Entergy. He said the makers of some of the switching gear have been brought in to help figure out what happened.'
First Entergy denied any responsibility. Then Entergy agreed to an investigation. And now, five days later, Entergy admits that its faulty equipment was the culprit that plunged the Superdome and the Super Bowl into darkness.
It's not unlike that time in Vermont, when Entergy officials testified, under oath, to state officials, that no underground piping existed at Vermont Yankee which could possibly be conducting radioactive materials. Only to have to admit a short time later, that those very pipes which it had denied even existed, were leaking tritium and other radioactive contaminants into soil, groundwater, and the Connecticut River.
Or that time, when it took over at the Palisades atomic reactor in Michigan, when it promised it would replace the corroded reactor lid and degraded steam generators, as well as deal with the worst embrittled reactor pressure vessel in the U.S. -- but never did.
The Chicago Tribune has reported on Entergy's mea culpa for causing the Super Bowl lights out. CBS Sports has reported that documents revealed concerns about electrical failures in the months leading up to the game.