Concerns over possible Superdome outage surfaced months ago

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 11:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 5 at 11:42 PM

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

NEW ORLEANS -- Two days later, the Super Bowl power outage is still getting national attention, but Mayor Mitch Landrieu is focused on the big picture.

"The blackout is not gonna define, for the people of New Orleans, this Super Bowl. No matter what anybody says about it, it was a spectacular event for us," Landrieu said.

What caused the outage remains a mystery, and now, officials are calling on a third-party group to investigate.

"We felt it was important, with Entergy's help to hire an independent engineering firm so that we could quickly get started on an evaluation to determine what the root cause of this may be," said SMG Vice President Doug Thornton.

Documents obtained by CBS News, Tuesday, reveal concerns over a possible outage surfaced months ago.

On Sept. 15, a Superdome advisor wrote: "as a result of testing, there is evidence that (electric) feeders (at the dome) are not operating at 100 percent of their capacity" and "should be replaced."

Tuesday, officials talked about the improvements that were made as a result.

"Entergy upgraded the switchgear in the vault that we've been talking about. They spent a considerable amount of money to prevent the kind of activity that we had Sunday night. We, in turn, wanted to upgrade our feeder system so that we would have a reliable system and 100 percent redundancy that we now have," Thornton said.

"The substation was receiving power from the Entergy system. There was also energy being delivered on the other side of the system," said Entergy CEO Charles Rice.

And thus, the search for answers continues -- over a situation that frayed some nerves, and also spurred a few good jokes.

"There is nothing the people of New Orleans cannot achieve. I agree with that, but I agree also with what we read on Twitter -- 'who hasn't blacked out in New Orleans before?'" Landrieu said.

 

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