New Jersey officials taking steps to avoid Super Bowl power-outage repeat
At a meeting with reporters at MetLife Stadium, they laid out plans for the Feb. 2 game, which will be the first Super Bowl ever played outside at a cold-weather venue. Chief among their concerns was avoiding the type of system failure that occurred at the Superdome last February when a partial outage caused a 34-minute delay in the game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.
An outside expert hired by New Orleans utility Entergy and Superdome management concluded the outage was caused by a design flaw in an electrical relay device that had been installed specifically to prevent a power failure at the game.
Ralph LaRossa, president of Public Service Electric & Gas, said Thursday that the utility had tested the same type of relay device used in New Orleans with a high electrical load to make sure it wouldn't give a false signal to shut down as it did at the Superdome, and that the test was successful.
''The bottom line is we've taken every precaution and every lesson learned that we could from prior Super Bowls, from what happened with Entergy, and applied those best practices and lessons learned to the operation in New Jersey,'' LaRossa said.
Among the extra measures, LaRossa said, is a third PSE&G power line that will be added to two that already feed the electrical substation at the Meadowlands, a complex that also includes the Izod Center arena and Meadowlands Racetrack. John Duffy, vice president of engineering and construction for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the entity that owns the land and the electrical substation, said each of the lines is capable of powering the complex on its own, so that even if two were to go down the third could provide enough power.
The third line will remain in place for future use, officials said.
In addition, PSE&G is supplying a temporary, mobile electrical substation to back up the on-site substation. Some of the events on the Meadowlands grounds will be powered by generators as well, LaRossa said.
It is a massive undertaking for a reason: LaRossa estimated that it will take about 18 megawatts of electricity to power the entire the complex for the game, or the equivalent of what would be needed to power 12,000 homes. Six of the 18 megawatts could potentially be shouldered by generators, he added.
MetLife Stadium already has experience with power problems. Two brief outages occurred during a New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys game in November 2010, the stadium's inaugural season. The problem was blamed on feeder lines from outside the stadium. Since then, the NJSEA has built a new electrical substation on the site.
''We have to operate this place every day, not just for the Super Bowl,'' Duffy said, ''so it would have been done either way.''