What caused the halftime blackout?
Sun, 09 Sep 2012 6:03p.m.
By Emma Jolliff
A blackout at Westpac Stadium last night during the Test against Argentina has left many wondering what happened.
Transpower says the blip lasted less than a second. So why did it cause a 13-minute delay to the game?
Halftime was over. Argentina and the All Blacks head out for the second half when suddenly it's light out.
“The lights have gone out at the ground here, so we've got a little bit of drama,” says the commentator.
It was another 13 minutes before the Test got underway again.
“Exactly the same for the other team, just needed to make sure we were going to start the second half like we were going to and not over-think it,” says All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.
After a day of wild weather in Wellington, lightning was to blame.
“[It was a] lightning strike just south of Palmerston North that took out the two big lines,” says Kieran Devine, Transpower systems operations manager. “The two smaller lines into Wellington stayed in. That's why power didn't go out in a general sense. It was only the discharge lamps to a large extent.”
It wasn't a complete blackout at the stadium. Emergency lights stayed on after the four main tower lights went off.
“Unfortunately these are not your average 100w bulbs at home,” says Westpac Stadium spokesman Stephen Thompson. “It takes several minutes to cool them down and them bring them back to operating temperature again, and that's what happened.”
Discharge lamps provide cheap lighting for large areas so are often used in street lights, at port areas and at sports grounds to provide clean, white light.
“In my suburb the street lights went out for five to 10 minutes, and that would have happened across the bulk of the Wellington area,” says Mr Devine. “But the change is energy use was so small we could barely measure it.”
Stephen Thompson says they're the right lights to use and are used internationally. The stadium has backup power for emergency lights only.
“With the size of the tower lights you would have to basically be a power company yourself to provide non-interruptible power supply to the towers,” says Mr Thompson.
He's just relieved it happened at halftime.
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10/09/2012 11:38:37 p.m.
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