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.