Cause of Super Bowl outage still unclear


NEW ORLEANS — Who turned out the lights?

The day after the 34-minute blackout at the Super Bowl, the exact cause — and who’s to blame — were unclear.

Although the cause of the blackout remains under investigation, 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.

However, documents released Monday by the state board that oversees the Superdome show that stadium officials were worried about a power outage several months before the big game.

An Oct. 15 memo prepared for the Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District says that tests on Superdome electrical feeders showed they had “some decay and a chance of failure.”

Entergy New Orleans, the company that supplies the stadium with power, and the structure’s engineering staff “had concerns regarding the reliability of the Dome service from Entergy’s connection point to the Dome,” the memo says.

Those concerns were due in part to “circumstances that have previously occurred with the electrical service regarding transient spikes and loads.”

The memo also cites 2011 blackouts that struck Candlestick Park, where the San Francisco 49ers were playing a nationally televised Monday night football game, as a reason for ordering the tests for the stadium.

The board later authorized spending nearly $1 million on Superdome improvements, including more than $600,000 for upgrading the dome’s electrical feeder cable system.