We have people and crews in every quadrant of Cedar Rapids and throughout Iowa

Doing all we can to fully restore services.

On August 10, 2020, a derecho swept across Iowa. This unprecedented storm left a massive path of destruction. Trees, power poles and everything in between – simply destroyed. The storm also left a quarter-million Alliant Energy customers without power. While many customers have had power restored, several thousand are still without.

What happened and why are thousands still without power in Linn County?
The Derecho storm took out high-voltage power that normally feeds electricity to many parts of Cedar Rapids, broader Linn County and many communities we serve throughout Iowa.

As soon as the storm passed, we sent crews to areas across the state to start rebuilding the circuits. Once the circuits were powered, we could begin delivering power back to neighborhoods. From there, we began connecting individual homes and businesses to power.

As crews were working to rebuild our circuits, they were also starting to replace power poles and install new wiring. In Cedar Rapids, crews have been working in quadrants across the city, first preparing the circuits for the transmission to be restored to our substations. This step – restoration of transmission – was among the most critical steps to getting the power back on for all customers.

Think of this process like a tree:

  • The roots are the high-voltage transmission lines – they feed the tree to power its growth
  • The trunk is the substation – it provides stable power to the tree to stand
  • The limbs are the circuits – taking power to your town and neighborhoods
  • The branches are the lines – connecting your streets to power
  • The leaves are your homes and businesses – and now we are reconnecting each one to restore energy

For some individual homes and businesses, it is just not safe to reconnect power. But unlike fallen leaves, when homes and businesses are repaired, we’ll be ready and waiting to reconnect your power. 

Would more help get power restored faster?
Some have asked if we could bring in even more people to work on restoration to make things go faster. We continue to supplement with additional new resources and are redeploying others as more work moves to backyards and individual homes.

Think of gathering at a large family dinner. After dinner there are a lot of dishes to do. And there is a specific process and order to cleaning things up.  

  • Dishes are gathered from the table   
  • They are washed, rinsed and dried   
  • Stacked and then put away   

If everyone got up from the table and all started washing their dishes at the same time, it becomes crowded and inefficient – there just isn’t enough room for everyone at the sink to do the same job all at once. So, we follow a process. Some people gather, some people rinse and wash, others dry and stack while others put the dishes away.  

The same holds true for where we are at with our final restoration efforts in the Cedar Rapids area. We follow a process – and everyone has a job along the way – and everyone stays on task, focused on the job. And we multiply this process across every quadrant of the city – and manage simultaneously – just as we did in hundreds of communities across the state. There is always work being done, there is always progress being made as safe and quickly as possible. Remember, even when you do not see us, we are working towards you to make power available to you.  

As we work and follow our processes, you can do your part.
As you clear the debris and trees from your yard, keep the following in mind:

  • If see downed power lines, assume they are live. Please call us to report the downed lines (if you’ve already called, thank you, please call us again) 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4258).
  • Our trucks are using the areas cleared by the National Guard. Please don’t place more trees and debris there until your power is restored. It prevents our crews from having the space they need to work to connect your home and homes on your street.
  • Call 811 to mark lines before digging. If your home or business sustained damage and your restoration efforts involve digging, please call 811 or visit the Iowa One Call website for information on scheduling a utility locate before beginning a project. It’s for your safety, the safety of our crews and keeps the power on for your entire neighborhood.
  • If the electrical lines have been torn from your house, or the electric meter/power pole with mast that is attached to your home has been damaged, call a licensed electrician to fix it. This way, when our crews come to reconnect your home, they can do safely. Otherwise, it will cause further delay because you own the equipment that brings electricity into your home, and that equipment must be in good working order.
  • Be on the lookout for potential scams and unlicensed electricians. If someone knocks at your door offering to help, ask for proof or verification.

Thank you for your ongoing patience and support of our crews following this unprecedented storm. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Help is available to pay energy bills

If you need financial help with your energy bills during this difficult time, there are resources to help.Young couple managing finances, reviewing their bank accounts using laptop computer and calculator at modern kitchen. Woman and man doing paperwork together, paying taxes online on notebook pc

Due to COVID-19, the federal government has increased energy assistance funding to several programs, including LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program).

Crisis funding is now available to income-qualified households. You can apply for crisis funding even if you have already applied for or received LIHEAP benefits.

We encourage customers to apply now because funds are limited.

For LIHEAP information including application deadlines and updated guidelines, visit the following links:

The Hometown Care Energy Fund also helps income-qualified customers. For information,

You can learn more about all available resources by visiting alliantenergy.com/energyassistance.

We are here to help you. We are all powering though, together.

 

Safe digging: Know what’s below and help flatten the curve

April is Safe Digging Month.

With warming weather and health guidelines to shelter in place, more people may be thinking about doing home projects.

During the COVID-19 crisis, it’s particularly important to call 811 and know what’s below before digging.  

Doing some Digging 811.jpg

The virus response means that hospitals and first responders are already stretched thin. They are on duty every day, caring for those who are or could potentially be ill. Utility personnel are also on duty around-the-clock to make sure our gas and electric services continue to be reliable. Using safe digging practices can prevent unnecessary injuries and trips to the emergency room, which in turn would avoid stressing these critical resources and possibly exposing them to the virus.

We urge everyone involved in home or business digging activities to exercise extreme caution. There are thousands of miles of underground utility lines in our area –- including buried gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines — so people need to prepare before digging underground.

We encourage residents and contractors to:

  • Call 811 beforehand
  • Wait several days until lines are fully marked before starting to dig
  • Practice safe physical distancing while working outside

Our health-care workers and first responders cannot afford additional strains on their resources. Taking these steps adds up to one more safety measure that can help flatten the curve.

Alliant Energy gives $2 million to Hometown Care Energy Fund

Alliant Energy is making a $2 million donation to its Hometown Care Energy Fund. The fund assists customers that need financial help to pay their bill.

Warm HomeWe know that many customers may face financial hardship due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This contribution shows our ongoing commitment to serve customers in Iowa and Wisconsin and help those in need.

The Hometown Care Energy Fund is supported annually with funds from Alliant Energy shareowners, as well as voluntary contributions from employees, retirees and customers.

“We know that many customers need help paying their bill or may need additional help due to the pandemic,” said Linda Mattes, Vice President of Customer and IT Operations at Alliant Energy. “We are coming together with customers, employees, retirees and shareowners to help our neighbors.”

We partner with nonprofit organizations in Wisconsin and Iowa to distribute the funds. Customers can review income eligibility requirements and apply for funding as follows:

If you or someone you know is having difficulty paying a bill, visit our new My Account site to set up a payment plan based on ability to pay. On My Account, customers can also set up fee-free credit card payments, review account information and report outages.

The contributions by Alliant Energy’s shareowners are not included in the rates charged to customers.

More information on the Hometown Care Energy Fund can be found at alliantenergy.com/hometowncare.

For tips to reduce energy use and save money, Alliant Energy shares 10 tips.

Alliant Energy 2019 community support totals $7.25 million

Alliant Energy supported the communities we serve in Iowa and Wisconsin with $7.25 million and thousands of volunteer hours in 2019.

Support included:

  • $2 million in community grants and sponsorships
  • More than 140 scholarships
  • 92,701 employee and retiree volunteer hours
  • Over 1,000 community partnerships
  • 85 million meals generated

“Our purpose is to serve customers and build stronger communities,” said Julie Bauer, Executive Director of the Alliant Energy Foundation. “These partnerships bring our purpose to life and strengthen the communities we call home.”

Our support focuses on four areas: Helping Families, Education, Environment and Safety.

Helping Families

We strongly support food pantries. In 2019, our nutrition-related giving was enough to generate 1.85 million meals. Our annual Drive Out Hunger event united business partners against hunger and raised $450,000, enough to provide 1.35 million meals.

We provided grocery coupons to 255 students per week with the Backpack Nutrition Program in Waushara County, Wis.

Employees volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in several communities, including Marshalltown, Iowa, where they rebuilt tornado-damaged homes.

Education

Great education strengthens communities and builds a future workforce. Our support of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) gives all students a chance to thrive.MaydmAMEvent

Our partnership with Maydm in Madison, Wis. engages youth from underrepresented communities to pursue future careers in STEM. The grant allows 100 students to attend innovation sessions. These students are primarily girls and youth of color.

We partnered with Iowa State University Extension and the Iowa 4-H Foundation on a new program called InventSTEM. We also funded 100 classroom kits that focus on wind energy and give 80,000 students across the state an experience in STEM.

Environment

Alliant Energy prioritizes environmental health. We partnered with Trees Forever on their Growing Futures program. This program employs at-risk youth to plant and maintain trees. Our support kicked off the program in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The program will provide 500 new trees and more than 30 jobs for local teens.

Safety

Communities are safer thanks to Hometown Safety Grants that help communities purchase equipment for first responders. In North Central Iowa, the company’s $10,000 gift to the Regional Emergency Commission equipped first responders with much-needed gas monitors. These devices alert fire fighters to toxic or combustible conditions and protect them as they protect communities.

Community Support

Alliant Energy’s Hometown Care Energy Fund provided $2 million to customers who need assistance to pay their bill. Our employees and retirees gave over $1 million to nonprofit organizations, food pantries, disaster relief efforts and other causes in their communities. The Alliant Energy Foundation supported employee giving and provided an additional $855,000 in matching gifts.

The Alliant Energy Foundation is an independent and nonprofit philanthropic organization funded solely by shareowner dollars from Alliant Energy Corporation.

We will continue to monitor new information and evaluate community needs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis. Visit Alliant Energy’s COVID-19 resource page for more information.

For more information about Alliant Energy and the Alliant Energy Foundation, visit alliantenergy.com.

Alliant Energy partners with Iowa State to create face shields for hospitals

We are partnering with a team of Iowa State University students to manufacture and distribute face shields to medical professionals at hospitals in Iowa.

shieldsHospitals need more personal protective equipment due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This collaborative effort will provide shields for hospital staff to use, helping to save lives while preventing the spread of the virus. This support is part of our continued commitment to assisting the communities they serve.

The face shields are being printed on 3D printers at Iowa State University’s Computation and Construction Lab (CCL) within the College of Design.

Alliant Energy is funding the 3D printing and donating the supplies to Iowa State. The company will also be distributing the face shields to hospitals across Iowa. The team hopes to manufacture up to 2,000 shields.

“Alliant Energy is committed to serving and helping our customers and communities,” said Linda Mattes, Vice President of Customer and IT Operations at Alliant Energy. “We’re proud to partner with Iowa State University during this health crisis to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.”

Two of our employees were inspired by Gov. Kim Reynolds’ comments during a recent press conference on the use of 3D printers. They reached out to Iowa State University, and the opportunity to empower architecture students to innovatively create protective face shields for use in local hospitals arose.

Shelby Doyle, assistant professor of architecture and co-founder of Iowa State’s Computation and Construction Lab, is leading the effort of eight Iowa State students to manufacture the shields. According to a news release issued by Iowa State University, the students work in rotating shifts in a ‘socially distanced’ assembly line to put the parts of the shields together. It takes two to three hours to print the parts for each face shield.

“The student employees are making the best of a really challenging moment where a lot of us feel really helpless as we watch this pandemic unfurl,” Doyle said. “Fabricating face shields is a small way for us to engage that’s within our capabilities.”

Thirty 3D printers are being used to create parts for the face shields. The students are 3D printing the top and bottom segments of the shields while adding a clear plastic cover and elastic band to secure around a person’s head.

Each student wears gloves and continuously disinfects the work area and materials. Upon completion, the shields are disinfected again before being placed in sealed containers.

In addition to funding the face shield project, we’ve recently donated over 800 N95 masks to medical facilities and organizations in Iowa.

We will continue to monitor new information and evaluate community needs during the health crisis.

Visit Alliant Energy’s COVID-19 resource page for more information.

Alliant Energy donates total of $42,500 to several United Way organizations

Alliant Energy has donated $42,500 to local United Way organizations in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This immediate assistance is part of our continued commitment to helping communities during this health crisis.AE employee volunteers

The aid will directly benefit some of the United Way organizations that are assisting with emergency relief efforts in communities that we serve in Iowa and Wisconsin.

“We have an ongoing commitment to the communities that we serve. We are demonstrating this commitment by acting quickly and providing immediate support to the United Way organizations that will assist our customers and the communities,” said Julie Bauer, Executive Director of the Alliant Energy Foundation. “We are continuing to help minimize the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.”

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the company’s support is addressing increasing needs and benefiting five United Way organizations, including:

  • United Way of Dane County (Wisconsin)
  • United Way of East Central Iowa (Iowa)
  • United Way Blackhawk Region (Wisconsin)
  • United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States (Iowa)
  • United Way of Sheboygan County (Wisconsin)

Last week, the company donated $100,000 to the coronavirus (COVID-19) relief efforts in Iowa and Wisconsin through its foundation. That support is helping organizations such as six Feeding America Food Banks, the American Red Cross and other emergency relief services in Iowa and Wisconsin to meet the current needs.

We are also encouraging current and retired employees to donate to local relief efforts and matching those gifts.

We will continue to work with community partners and monitor new information from government officials to evaluate community needs and use that info as a guide to future gifts.

In addition, we support the Hometown Care Energy Fund in Iowa and Wisconsin. This fund is supported annually with funds from Alliant Energy and voluntary contributions from customers to assist customers that need financial help. For information on the Hometown Care Energy Fund, call 1-800-255-4268 or visit alliantenergy.com and click on the ‘Bill Pay Options’ tab.

Alliant Energy temporarily suspends disconnects for non-payment; intends to waive late fees

imageAlliant Energy is temporarily suspending disconnections for all of Iowa and Wisconsin customers during the public health emergency related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In addition, we plan to waive late fees in Iowa to help customers who are suffering financial hardships and will collaborate with partners and organizations in Wisconsin to offer a similar solution. In the midst of all the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, worrying about continued access to utility service should not be anyone’s top concern.

This temporary suspension will alleviate customer concerns about continued access to their utility service and allows them to concentrate on the health of their families and businesses during this unprecedented and rapidly changing situation. This complements the recent directive extending the winter moratorium for residential customers.

While the ongoing COVID-19 situation may create financial stress and difficulty for some, we encouraging them to set up payment plans based on their ability to pay. This can be done online at the company’s new My Account site, which allows for fee-free credit card payments. The site, alliantenergy.com/myaccount, and the company’s mobile app (compatible with Apple and Android devices), are available 24/7, and provide customers fast, reliable access to up-to-date account information as well as the opportunity to report outages.

Another resource available to customers is 211. Via call, text or chat, customers can talk with local 211 community resource specialists to discuss a variety of services and resources that are available to help them through this difficult situation.

As company Chairman, President and CEO John Larsen shared in his message to customers last week, we are focusing on the safety and well-being of customers and employees while also adhering to established health protocols. “Protecting our workforce ensures we can continue serving our customers and provide the reliable service you count on,” Larsen stated in his message.

We take pride in doing everything we can to minimize risks and continue serving customers while living its Values to Do the right thing and Care for others. Earlier today, the company announced a $100,000 donation to help non-profits and assist with rising community needs.

While we do not know how long the state of emergency will last, by working together with state and local officials and industry leaders, heeding the advice of medical professionals and keeping safe social distances, we will continue to ensure the safety of our communities.

For more information about Alliant Energy, visit alliantenergy.com.

Media contact: Cindy Tomlinson, Manager of External Relations, cindytomlinson@alliantenergy.com | 608-458-3869 | 608-206-4646

Alliant Energy Foundation donates to COVID-19 relief

Alliant Energy is donating $100,000 to the coronavirus (COVID-19) relief efforts in Iowa and Wisconsin through its foundation. The immediate support will benefit non-profit organizations and directly assist community needs in response to the crisis. These efforts support our core value of safety and assures the well-being of customers, employees and communities.

“Our employees are working diligently to continue safe and reliable operations and working to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 crisis for our customers and the communities they live in. But we want to do more,” said John Larsen, Chairman, President and CEO of Alliant Energy.  “We are providing immediate support to organizations that help our customers and communities in these unsettling times, especially those most vulnerable.”

We worked with non-profit partners to understand needs of the communities and determine what support is most critical. Donations were the top need of the communities.

“We are committed to the health and safety of our customers and the communities they live in,” said David de Leon, President of Alliant Energy in Wisconsin. “We understand how this crisis is impacting our communities, and we want to help.”

The contributions will directly help several non-profits in Iowa and Wisconsin. We will continue to monitor the needs of communities as the situation changes.

Feeding America Food Banks

food pantry donationsThe Alliant Energy Foundation will donate $70,000 to be shared between six food banks in Iowa and Wisconsin, with $35,000 to each state. Food banks play a critical role to provide hundreds of partner agencies with the immediate support they need to help the most vulnerable communities and customers.  This includes emergency food boxes, mobile drive-thru pantry support and filling gaps usually provided by school lunch programs.

American Red Cross in Iowa and Wisconsin

A $20,000 donation will support the emergency response fund of the American Red Cross in Iowa and Wisconsin, with $10,000 going to each state. The coronavirus outbreak has increased the need for blood. This donation will benefit the organizations as the country experiences a national blood shortage.

Additional Support

A $10,000 donation will support organizations providing food and other critical services in specific communities. Also, when our employees and retirees donate to local relief efforts, the Alliant Energy Foundation will match their gifts up to $3,500 this year.

“This support is coming at a critical time,” said Michelle Orge, President and CEO of Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. “We’re being challenged to work in new ways and maintain the food and health safety of our clients. We’re grateful for partners like the Alliant Energy Foundation who are stepping up.”

We continue to serve customers and provide reliable service during the outbreak while monitoring new information from government officials and organizations.

“We are being proactive to ensure the safety of our communities and customers and the well-being of our employees,” said Terry Kouba, President of Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy company. “We know this situation is changing quickly, and we are acting rapidly to support our communities.”

We’ve activated our comprehensive pandemic emergency plan. We have made several changes to our work practices that include maintaining a social distance of at least six feet and the use of gloves when entering your home or business. We’ve postponed non-essential work, and we remain focused on all activities that continue to provide safe and reliable operations.

To read a letter to customers from John Larsen, Chairman, President and CEO of Alliant Energy, please see our earlier post or visit our website alliantenergy.com

A letter to Alliant Energy customers

imageTo our valued customers,

We understand the concern and uncertainty you may be experiencing surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19). At Alliant Energy, safety is a core value. I want to assure you that the health and well-being of our customers, employees and communities is our top priority. Protecting our workforce ensures we can continue serving our customers and provide the reliable service you count on.

While we are accustomed to preparing for storms and seasonal viruses such as the flu, we recognize this situation is very different and changing quickly. We are monitoring new information from state and federal governments, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We have also activated our comprehensive pandemic emergency plan and are acting swiftly to protect employees and customers.

We have made several changes to our work practices that include maintaining a social distance of at least six feet and the use of gloves when entering your home or business. Also, to maintain a healthy workforce, we are postponing non-essential work. We will remain focused on all activities that continue to provide safe and reliable operations.

We understand the ongoing COVID-19 situation may create financial difficulties for some customers, and we are here to help. Call us at 800-255-4268 to discuss your situation. You can also install our mobile app or visit our brand new My Account site 24/7 to obtain up-to-date account information. Sign up at alliantenergy.com/myaccount.

At Alliant Energy, we are doing everything we can to minimize risks and continue serving you while living our Values to Do the right thing and Care for others.

Thank you and continue to be safe,

John Larsen

Chairman, President, and CEO