Superdome outage due to device malfunction

NEW ORLEANS — A partial power outage during this year's Super Bowl occurred because a relay device with a design defect malfunctioned, an outside expert confirmed Thursday.

Entergy, which supplies electricity to the Superdome, and the stadium's management company hired forensic engineer John Palmer to perform an independent analysis of the Feb. 3 outage. Palmer is president of Palmer Engineering & Forensics in Kaysville, Utah.

Entergy has said it believed the outage was caused by an electrical relay device that it installed specifically to prevent a power failure at the dome.

Palmer's report says the primary cause of the disruption was a malfunction or "misoperation" of the relay.

The report also notes the relay had a design defect, and under testing it did not perform entirely as its instruction manual said it was supposed to. It says the factory default setting of the relay was inappropriate. Finally, it says there was "inadequate communication between the manufacturer and the utility."

Palmer said his findings are based on information available as of the date of the report. "If additional information becomes available that affects these opinions and conclusions, this engineer reserves the right to supplement this report," he wrote.

The partial blackout delayed the game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers for 34 minutes.


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