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Blackout traced to preventive equipment

Friday - 2/8/2013, 2:20pm  ET

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- It was supposed to prevent a power outage -- but it ended up causing one.

The utility that serves the New Orleans Superdome says the cause of the 34-minute partial blackout during the Super Bowl was the failure of an electrical device that had been installed in switching gear. It was supposed to protect the arena from a cable failure between the utility's incoming power line and the lines that run into the Superdome.

Today's announcement from the utility, Entergy, came shortly before company officials appeared before City Council members to answer questions about the outage. It stopped play early in the third quarter in the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.

Company officials say the device performed with no problems during earlier events, but it has now been removed and will be replaced.

Earlier, the utility and the company that manages the stadium had said they would hire a third-party investigator to pinpoint the cause of the blackout. The head of the utility told city council members today that the investigator might still be hired.

An electrical engineering professor at Louisiana State says the relay device is common at massive facilities like the Superdome. He says it's "not unusual for them to have problems."

%@AP Links

173-c-16-(Brian Schwaner (SHWAH'-nur), AP correspondent)-"to the Superdome (second reference)"-What caused Sunday's Super Bowl blackout? The AP's Brian Schwaner says the report is in. (8 Feb 2013)

<> 00:16 "to the Superdome (second reference)"

190-v-31-(Jim Bell, AP correspondent)--The power company that serves the Superdome is taking the blame for the Super Bowl blackout. AP correspondent Jim Bell has details. (8 Feb 2013)

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APPHOTO NY117: FILE - Fans and members of the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers wait for power to return in the Superdome in a Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, file photo, during an outage in the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, in New Orleans. Officials of Entergy New Orleans say the cause of the Super Bowl blackout was a faulty device called a relay that had been installed to prevent a failure of electric cables leading to the Superdome. They said the device has been removed and replacement equipment will be installed. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File) (3 Feb 2013)

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