IOWA DERECHO 2020

92 percent of Alliant customers across Iowa have power Tuesday evening

Majority of more than 37,000 without power in Iowa are in Linn County

Alliant Energy workers prepare to get a truck's bucket in the air for work on a line parallel to Winslow Road in Marion
Alliant Energy workers prepare to get a truck’s bucket in the air for work on a line parallel to Winslow Road in Marion on Monday. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

Heading into Tuesday evening, just over 92 percent of Alliant Energy’s Iowa customers had power.

The majority of the 8 percent, or 37,126, of Alliant customers across the state without power were in Linn County. Overall, 73 percent of Alliant’s Linn County customers had power as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

A massive derecho storm on Aug. 10, with winds over 100 mph, damaged more than 1,000 homes in Cedar Rapids, many now deemed too damaged to occupy, according to the city’s fire department.

The end of the day Tuesday was the time a lot of residents of the Cedar Rapids area were looking forward to. Last week, Alliant Energy and ITC Midwest — which owns and operate high-voltage transmission lines in Iowa — had committed to restoring power in Cedar Rapids “no later than Tuesday,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said during a news conference in Cedar Rapids last week.

Alliant said in a notification to customers that “a significant number” of them would have access to power by then. And during a Monday news conference, Terry Kouba, senior vice president of utility operations at Alliant, said the utility is doing everything possible to restore service to 90 percent of its customers by the end of the day on Tuesday.

Alliant hit that goal hours before its midnight deadline, according to the power outage numbers on its website.

“But our goal is everybody. Just because we’re at 90 percent on Wednesday morning or above or below, we’re still going,” Joel Schmidt, vice president of business development for Alliant, said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

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Schmidt said that crews from Cedar Rapids to “all the way from Canada” have been continuing to work around the clock to restore power in Linn County.

“Yesterday, I said there were 1,300 boots on the ground. That’s been increased,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt added that he knows living without power can be extremely challenging, but wanted to assure residents Alliant is doing everything it can to restore power as quickly and safely as it can.

“There’s nothing we want more than to get that power back and available to you,” he said. “We will not rest until this is completed.”

He said restoring power in southeast Cedar Rapids has been a larger task for crews.

“It’s the trees, power lines, communication lines and everything else in between,” Schmidt said. “The National Guard has been here for several days working to clear the trees.”

In Marshall County, 3,765 of Alliant’s 15,312 customers were without power, In Benton County, 1,461 of the utility’s 6,674 customers were still out.

The Iowa City area and surrounding Johnson County was close to being back to full capacity.

In surrounding Johnson County, only 156 of Alliant’s 9,827 customers still were without power as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. All its Iowa City customers had power.

In a Tuesday news release, MidAmerican Energy said beginning Monday it will send dozens of its crews to assist restoration efforts outside the company’s service area in Eastern Iowa to help Alliant.

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Only 23 of Linn County Rural Electric Cooperative’s Johnson County customers were without power as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.

In addition, 297 of REC’s Linn County customers still were waiting for power as of Tuesday evening.

In a Tuesday evening news release, REC said 99 percent of its customers had power. The current outages are scattered throughout its service area, with the highest concentration in the rural Toddville, Palo and Center Point areas.

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

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