New Orleans council to probe Super Bowl outage

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Officials for the utility giant that supplies the Superdome with electricity are slated to brief members of a City Council panel Friday on what they know about a power outage in half the stadium during the third quarter of the Super Bowl.

Utility Committee chairwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said she hopes that a meeting five days after the outage will have given Entergy time to assemble and analyze data.

"I wanted to make sure they had enough time to get all of their data and their experts and everybody together and meet with Superdome services so at least when they meet with us again they can give us a clearer picture of what happened," she said.

The City Council is the regulatory body for Entergy New Orleans, part of the Entergy Corp., which supplies power to customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Superdome and Entergy officials have said the 34-minute power interruption happened when sensing equipment in the area where Entergy and Superdome equipment intersect detected some sort of anomaly, causing a breaker to open and cutting the power.

"The big question is: What was the anomaly?" Hedge-Morrell said. "What caused that system to perceive that there was a problem and shut down?"

The dome crowd remained calm during the outage and there were no reports of injuries. Mayor Mitch Landrieu this week said the outage was a disappointment but did not diminish the city's performance as host of what he called a near-flawless event. The city plans to bid to host the 2018 game and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he expects the city, which has hosted 10 Super Bowls, to host more.

In addition to Entergy officials and the council's regulatory advisers, executives with SMG, the corporation that has operated the state-owned Superdome for more than 30 years, are expected to attend the meeting. Neither company provided any new information Thursday on the investigation or on their joint plan, announced Wednesday, to hire a consultant to analyze data. It was unclear how long the investigation would take.

The outage happened less than two minutes into the third quarter of Sunday's championship game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. It came despite upgrades Entergy and SMG made to the electrical system in December in order to prevent outages.

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