IOWA DERECHO 2020

Utilities make progress on restoring power

But tens of thousands of area customers without

As swaths of Eastern Iowa — including downtown Cedar Rapids — have blinked back to life, tens of thousands of electric utility customers in Linn and Johnson counties remained in the dark Wednesday evening.

As of 9 p.m.:

• About 21 percent of Mid-American Energy electricity customers in the Iowa City area were still without power.

• About 33 percent of Alliant Energy customers in Johnson County were without power.

• About 24 percent of the Linn County Rural Electric Cooperative in Johnson County were without power.

• About 74 percent of the Alliant customers in Linn County, where the utility has far more customers than in Johnson, remained without power.

• And about 74 percent of Linn County REC customers in the county remained without power.

In a Wednesday afternoon statement, Alliant said power had been restored for close to 75,000 customers with most living in Williamsburg, Marengo and Jefferson.

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“With the first transmission lines connected into Cedar Rapids by ITC Midwest, Alliant Energy was able to energize downtown Cedar Rapids,” the statement said.

Power also was restored for a section of northeast Cedar Rapids.

“This is great news for many of our customers,” Terry Kouba, a senior vice president at Alliant said in a statement. “At the same time, we still have a long road ahead to fully restore all services in Cedar Rapids and throughout the state.”

Representatives from each utility company have previously said customers should expect extended outages.

Multiple companies have brought in crews from outside the area to help restore power starting with places of “critical need.”

All the companies continue to ask residents to stay away from down power lines.

internet service

Internet service providers Mediacom and ImOn are still prepping to restore services. Both companies have to wait for utility companies to restore power before they can fully get to work.

“We follow commercial power so the first step is to get commercial power restored. Our technicians are doing the work now to get ready and go in and do what we do,” said Lisa Rhatigan, vice president of marketing for ImOn.

Rhatigan said there currently is no timeline estimate to restore internet in the area due to different estimates on power restoration.

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“The best we’ve heard is a few to several days,” she said. “Our team is on it and we’re working to be ready and that’s all we know at this point.”

Mediacom spokeswoman Phyllis Peters said Wednesday evening that over 57,000 modems were still offline in the Eastern Iowa area, with the largest impacted area being Cedar Rapids.

Between 5,000 and 7,000 homes came back online in those areas Wednesday, Peters said.

Peters said the number includes Iowa City, North Liberty, Williamsburg and other smaller areas in southeast Iowa.

Once electricity comes back, most customer’s internet service will resume. But three major cuts in the fiber network near Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Vinton means some Mediacom customers still will not have internet after their power is restored.

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

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