IOWA DERECHO 2020

More than half of Alliant's customers have power in Linn County heading into Sunday evening

Vast majority of Johnson County customers to regain power Sunday night

An Alliant Energy crew works on power lines Wednesday along Bowling Street SW in Cedar Rapids. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
An Alliant Energy crew works on power lines Wednesday along Bowling Street SW in Cedar Rapids. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
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While fewer than half of residents in Linn County still were without power early Sunday evening, most of Johnson County residents were expected to have power by the end of the day.

Nearly all customers in Conrad, Walford and West Branch had power, Alliant Energy spokesman Mike Wagner said in a statement early Sunday evening.

“We expect numbers to keep increasing through the evening as we work to have power available to the majority of customers by midnight Tuesday,” Wagner said.

Alliant said 46,684 of its 97,603 Linn County customers were without power as of 5 p.m. Sunday. Only 240 of Alliant’s Johnson County customers did not have power.

Wagner said crews have been out restoring power and working 16- to 18-hour days since last Monday’s derecho storm.

“Then they go home to their own damage like our customers have,” Wagner said.

Wagner said the communities in the area have been supportive of the Alliant crews as they make repairs.

“We had a convoy of our trucks and National Guard trucks head into a neighborhood off Mount Vernon Road, and there were people outside cheering and clapping,” he said.

In her request for an expedited federal disaster declaration on Sunday, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Alliant had had some 256,000 customers without power immediately after the storm on Aug. 10. The request also said Alliant had identified more than 2,500 utility poles that can’t be repaired.

The request also noted MidAmerican Energy has brought in some 2,000 workers to help with power restoration, “with another 250 crews inbound, including personnel from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska (and) Nevada and national contractors.”

MidAmerican said that as of 5 p.m. Sunday it had only 81 of its Iowa City customers without power. In some of the remaining cases, crews are waiting for private electric pieces such as weatherheads to be repaired before they can move in, MidAmerican spokesman Geoff Greenwood said.

Linn County Rural Electric Cooperative said as of 5 p.m. Sunday, 13,017 of its 14,261 Linn County customers and 15,425 of its 15,638 Johnson County customers had power.

“Scattered outages remain throughout the system, with the highest concentration in the Toddville, Sutliff, Marion and Ely areas,” the REC said in a statement.

The company is waiting for transmission power to feed its last two substations. Its transmission provider was anticipating the Sutliff substation be energized Sunday, according to the statement.

The REC has 95 linemen working on the restoration — triple the amount to respond to an average outage. Crews are working on replacing 200 damaged poles and over 75 miles of line.

The number of linemen includes outside crews from eight electric cooperatives from Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri, the statement said.

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Cedar Rapids-based ITC Midwest, which maintains transmission lines, reported it had customers in 22 counties who initially were affected by the storm and some 1,200 miles of power lines down, according to the governor’s disaster request.

The request said that 500 miles of those ITC Midwest lines had been restored by Sunday, and that more than 600 personnel were working to repair lines that still were damaged.

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

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