IOWA DERECHO 2020

Power will be restored by Tuesday for 'significant number' in Cedar Rapids, Alliant says

About 65 percent of Linn County without power four days after derecho hits Iowa

Alliant Energy utility workers work on power lines in the 300 block of Forest Drive SE in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Aug.
Alliant Energy utility workers work on power lines in the 300 block of Forest Drive SE in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

About 65 percent of Linn County residents were still out of power Friday afternoon as utility crews look to work to repair the worst storm damage they’ve ever seen.

Alliant Energy senior vice president Terry Kouba said in a Friday news release a “significant number of customers” will have power by the end of the day Tuesday, if not sooner. Right now, about 65,000 Alliant customers in Linn County still do not have power.

“We are working day and night to make it happen even sooner,” Kouba said.

But Alliant spokesman Mike Wagner did not comment on what percentage “significant” is.

“Some of the people without (power) will have damage that first needs to be fixed,” Wagner said. “Others may be on a circuit facing a complex repair job, so repairs to make electricity available may take longer.”

Linn County Rural Electric Cooperative expects “a substantial increase in power restoration” in the next two to three days, the company said on its website. About 8,000 Linn County REC customers in the county do not have power and another 1,700 in Johnson County.

The utility is asking customers to turn the temperature up on their air conditioners by one to two degrees “to help lighten the demand on the substations we are relying on.”

After power is back on for a customer, Linn County REC said intermittent outages are still possible for the next week.

While Alliant owns service lines and electric meters, customers own the meter boxes and weather head. Customers are still responsible for hiring an electrician to repair the meter box and weather head, Wagner said. The weather head is the tube where power comes into a house.

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Restoration of internet service will shortly follow, internet providers told The Gazette.

Mediacom expects internet service to be restored within a day after electricity comes back, spokeswoman Phyllis Peters told The Gazette.

“It’s not necessarily instant, but it would probably be within a half-day or day,” Peters said.

ImOn spokeswoman Lisa Rhatigan said it’d be “impossible” to give a restoration estimate at this time.

“It really depends on where they are in our network and what damage we sustained in that area,” Rhatigan said.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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