Entries in Blackout (4)


Super Bowl Blackout Was Not Caused by Tampering

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) -- You can put those theories about the Super Bowl power outage being caused by human tampering to rest. Investigators in the outage say the cause for the darkness just after halftime at Sunday's game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was technical.

Entergy New Orleans, the company that powers the Superdome, has finished its investigation, finding that a relay, meant to prevent a failure of electrical cables, had failed, turning down the lights at pro football's biggest game.  

The fans inside the New Orleans stadium might have enjoyed the 34-minute break in the action, but for the NFL, the advertisers and the players, it was anything but enjoyable.   

The faulty device has been taken out and will be replaced.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


A US Blackout as Large as India’s? ‘Very Unlikely’

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As India recovers from a blackout that left the world’s second-largest country -- and more than 600 million residents -- in the dark, a ripple of uncertainty moved through the Federal Regulatory Commission’s command center today in the U.S. The Indian crisis had some people asking about the vulnerability of America’s grid.

“What people really want to know today is, can something like India happen here? So if there is an outage or some problem in the Northeast, can it actually spread all the way to California,” John Wellinghoff, the commission’s chairman, told ABC News. “It’s very, very unlikely that ultimately would happen.”

Wellinghoff said that first, the grid was divided in the middle of the nation. Engineers said that it also was monitored more closely than ever. The grid is checked for line surges 30 times a second.

Since the Northeast blackout in 2003 -- the largest in the U.S., which affected 55 million --16,000 miles of new transmission lines have been added to the grid.

And even though some lines in the Northeast are more than 70 years old, Wellinghoff said that the chances of a blackout like India’s were very low.

“Yes, we have old infrastructure in many places but we are upgrading that infrastructure,” he said. “I think we’ll be moving toward a much more modern grid and we’re doing that as rapidly as possible.”

Richard Clarke, a former national security adviser and ABC News consultant, however, said that today’s biggest domestic terrorism fear was a cyberattack on the grid.

“The U.S. power grid is extremely vulnerable to cyberattack,” Clarke said. “The government is aware of that. Recently the government held a White House level cyber-exercise in which the scenario was a cyberterrorist attack that took down the power grid.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two Power Outages, Bomb Threat Highlight 'Monday Night Football'

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Monday night football game, 20-3, but that wasn't the big story.

Right before the game started, San Francisco's Candlestick Park was plunged into darkness because of a transformer blow-out.

When power was restored after a brief delay, the game got underway.  But just as things were heating up in the second quarter, the lights went out again at Candlestick, forcing another delay.

Talk buzzed around the stadium about a possible postponement until the lights came back on.  The teams were able to finish the half and the rest of the game was played without incident.

However, after everyone had gone home, San Francisco police revealed that a bomb threat had been called in before the coin toss to start the game.  Following a quick hunt for a possible "explosive" device, cops determined that the threat wasn't credible.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


1.4 Million Without Power in Southern California Blackout

Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) -- A massive power outage that swept across Arizona, Southern California and Mexico has left millions of people in the dark and brought major West Coast cities to a standstill.

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. president and CEO Michael Niggl said at a press conference Thursday that the outage originated in Arizona and the 1.4 million affected customers could be without power through the night and into Friday.

The outage could have been caused by the past few days of intense heat, he suggested. The temperature in the Palm Springs, Calif., area reached 111 on Thursday.

There was "no indication that this event was caused by terrorism," Niggl said, adding that the agency was working with the California Independent System Operator to bring them back online.

The outage, which started at 4 p.m. PST, appeared to stretch east from San Diego to Yuma, Ariz., as far north as San Clemente, Calif., and as far south as the Baja penisula in Mexico.

The specific cause of the outage is still unknown. But authorities said it had to do with the power line that connects Arizona and California. Both major connections that bring power to the region have been disconnected -- for reasons unknown.

Viewers of ABC affiliate KESQ in Palm Springs, Calif., have called in to say they heard a massive explosion at a substation in Coachella. Those reports could not be immediately confirmed.

The loss of power led to a shutdown of two reactors at the San Onofre nuclear power plant. Officials from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency said it appeared to have shut down automatically at 3:38 p.m. because of the change in the power grid -- as it is designed to do, kind of like a circuit breaker. Officials are working now to reconnect the reactor so that it can help restore power to some of the many people affected.

All flights out of San Diego International Airport have been suspended, and the airport is currently running on generators.

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. also sent out a barrage of alerts on its Twitter feed, warning customers without power to "drive safely" on roads where street lights are out and "if you have a personal family emergency plan, please activate it now."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio