Iowa’s largest utility is still assessing the damage from the weekend snowstorm that left a peak of 75,000 of its customers without power. Allan Urlis, spokesman for MidAmerican Energy, says that’s been cut to 33,000 customers off the grid statewide and teams are working around the clock to get everyone back online.
Urlis says they have 900 people in the field doing repair work. He says that includes utility workers and private contractors from across Iowa and from eight surrounding states in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain Power and Pacific Power, in the West. Urlis says it’s too early to put a dollar value on the wreckage this storm left behind. He says they’re still trying to determine how much damage has been done and they can’t say yet when everyone will see power restored, though he says many will be back online today while others will see lights tomorrow or later.
Urlis says the deep snow, the continued cold and the degree of damage are combining making it difficult to reach some areas of the state. He says several hundred poles were broken and need to be replaced along with several miles of power line. The governor has declared 58 of Iowa’s 99 counties as disaster areas.
Ryan Stenslund, a spokesman for Alliant Energy, says some Marshalltown residents have been without power since Saturday morning, but crews are working to restore as many residents as they can, as quickly as they can. Stenslund says more than 800 crew members are working on the company’s lines, trying to get everyone back online. That’s 300 of the utility’s own workers along with 500 people from other utilities in states as far away as Florida and Virginia who are coming in to help.
He says it’s going to take several days to reach some remote areas of Iowa. Stenslund says, "It’s not a good situation right now," as several major transmission lines are down. Alliant says some seven-thousand customers are without power just in the Marshalltown area.