Crews and equipment from several Iowa electric co-ops are hitting the road to help restore the power in South Dakota after a major ice and winter storm struck that state Monday. Dennis Corcoran of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives says some 65 workers and 30 to 40 trucks from 20 Iowa co-ops will make the trip.
He says the first challenge is to get there as there’s a lot of blowing snow and ice. Corcoran says once they get there, they’ll be working to put up new poles and wire to replace those knocked down by the ice. Corcoran says Iowa’s part of a network created among the states. He says each statewide R-E-C (rural electric co-op) has a disaster plan and they respond and help each other when there’s mass damage.
Corcoran says the crews will include some of the same people who went to Mississippi earlier this year to help with hurricane recovery. He says this is the same type of job — just in much colder conditions. Corcoran says some co-ops in South Dakota are without power and first estimates said some two-thousand poles were down and they’re finding more down all the time. He says it’s being called the worst storm in a decade.
Despite all the damage to power poles and lines in the Gulf states, Corcoran doesn’t think they’ll have any problem getting replace equipment for South Dakota. He says there was a shortage of poles and cross arms and other wood products after the hurricanes — be he says right now there doesn’t appear to be any shortage of raw materials. Corcoran says the Iowa crews will be in South Dakota from five to 10 days depending on their progress.
Iowa cooperatives participating in the restoration efforts include: Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative, Postville; Butler County R-E-C, Allison; Consumers Energy, Marshalltown; Farmers Electric Cooperative, Greenfield; Franklin R-E-C, Hampton; Glidden R-E-C, Glidden; Grundy County R-E-C, Grundy Center, Guthrie County R-E-C, Guthrie Center; Hawkeye R-E-C, Cresco; Humboldt County R-E-C, Humboldt; Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, Estherville, Linn County R-E-C, Marion; Lyon R-E-C, Rock Rapids; Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative, Anamosa; Midland Power Cooperative, Jefferson; North West R-E-C, Le Mars/Orange City; Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative, Le Mars; Prairie Energy Cooperative, Clarion/Garner; and Woodbury County R-E-C.