IOWA DERECHO 2020

21,000 Alliant customers in Linn County still without power on Wednesday evening

Alliant: Numbers on power outage website fluid

Electrical workers repairing downed power lines along Highway 13 near County. Home Rd. in Marion, Iowa, on Tuesday, Aug.
Electrical workers repairing downed power lines along Highway 13 near County. Home Rd. in Marion, Iowa, on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. People are still cleaning up and without power after the Aug. 10 derecho storm. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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Over 21,000 Alliant Energy customers in Linn County were still without power heading into Wednesday night.

21,568 of Alliant’s 97,603 Linn County customers were without power as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, up from 21,045 at 9 a.m.

Spokesman for Alliant Mike Wagner said when looking at outage numbers of Alliant’s website, those numbers are fluid and can increase based on different situations.

“You can either have a situation where you have to take down a grid then put it back up, or, as the storm had taken a bunch of trees down, it could have weakened other trees and one of those may finally have come down,” he said.

Collectively, crews have replaced 3,000 power poles across the state. 1,200 miles of wire has been replaced. Typically, that’s 10 months of work done in 10 days.

“We will not rest until all of our customers have power to them,” Joel Schmidt, Alliant vice president of business development said during the Wednesday afternoon news conference.

In an evening statement, Aliant said 90 percent of homes and businesses in Marion and Robins had power.

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According to data from the Iowa Utilities Board, the power restoration date for Cedar Rapids and Marion is listed as Friday, Aug. 21.

Wagner said the estimated time is for customers that can accept energy.

“A lot of that may change based on what we find on people’s properties,” he said. “There will still be customers that can’t accept power at that time due to property damage.”

19,536 Alliant customers in Cedar Rapids and 1,427 in Marion were without power still according to Iowa Utilities Board data.

The Iowa Utilities Board spreadsheet lists that 64,351 was the peak of Cedar Rapids Alliant customers without power at one time. In Marion, the peak number was 17,742.

The spreadsheet also lists cell service data, saying that 5 percent of Linn County still is without cell service with seven cell sites out due to transport and six out due to power.

Linn County Rural Electric Cooperative only had 32 of its Linn County customers without power as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday. In Johnson County, all power has been restored for Linn County REC and MidAmerican customers. Alliant had 92 customers without power as of 5 p.m., up from 85 at 9 a.m.

In a Tuesday evening news release, MidAmerican said almost all of its customers in general have power and crews started assisting Alliant crews in Eastern Iowa on Wednesday.

Additionally, all remaining lines and circuits needed to provide service to ITC Midwest distribution customers have been restored, spokesperson Rod Pritchard said on Tuesday night.

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“ITC Midwest still has a lot of work to do in the weeks ahead to rebuild lines to ensure system resiliency and reliability,” Pritchard said. “We are continuing to work with Alliant Energy, CIPCO and the affected rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities we serve to help them get power restored to customers.”

In a Tuesday evening update from Mediacom, the news release said that approximately 60 percent of its Cedar Rapids area customers remain offline due to commercial power outages and extensive tree damage.

“We have staged crews to begin work as quickly as possible once electric has been restored and we have been given access,” the release said. “Many customers in these areas should have service restored by the end of this week, however this could take longer for some areas with significant line damage and tree debris.”

Comments: (319) 398-8255; gage.miskimen@thegazette.com

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