Candlestick Park is ready to go for Saturday’s San Francisco 49ers playoff game following embarrassing power outages during a nationally televised game last month, city and PG&E officials said today.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee released a statement this afternoon saying that the city and utility have completed the last of several improvements and tests to ensure there is not another outage.
On Dec. 19, the stadium went dark twice, delaying a Monday Night Football game between the 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers in what Lee called “a national embarrassment.”
PG&E admitted fault for the first outage, which occurred shortly before game time and was caused when a splice, which connects two overhead wires, failed and the power line fell to the ground on Ingerson Avenue near the stadium.
The city admitted fault for the second outage, which happened during the second quarter of the game and was caused by a malfunctioning switch on the backup power inside the stadium, according to a letter Lee wrote to 49ers president Jed York.
The team, which finished the regular season 13-3 and earned a bye in last weekend’s first round of the playoffs, is hosting their first playoff game Saturday when the New Orleans Saints come to town.
Lee said in his statement today that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Fire Department, Recreation and Park Department and PG&E conducted three comprehensive power tests of the electrical systems that serve the stadium.
The tests mimicked the events of the Dec. 19 outages and resulted in successful transfers of the power load to alternate sources to maintain continuous service, according to the city.
PG&E has also inspected all of its equipment serving the stadium, including stringing new electric wire from Candlestick Park to a utility substation on the border of San Francisco and Daly City.
“I’m confident that the city and PG&E have taken every possible step to ensure reliable power for the playoff game this weekend,” Lee said. “I think the only ‘lights out’ at Candlestick on Saturday will be our 49ers shutting down the New Orleans Saints!”
San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said Tuesday that officers will also make sure that the power lines “are not only sound, but also secure from anyone that might want to do some practical joke.”
Of course, even if the lights went out on Saturday, the game could still go on–it is scheduled to start during the daytime at 1:35 p.m.
Suhr said the Police Department will have additional officers at the stadium during the game as well, “hopefully for the celebration afterward.”
Parking lot gates at Candlestick will open at 8:30 a.m. The game is sold out, but fans looking for tickets can go to the NFL Ticket Exchange at www.ticketmaster.com.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News
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