While many Iowan’s thoughts are on the choice for the next president, the managers of several of the state’s electric co-ops are hoping to hear from the current administration on a request for a federal disaster declaration.
Bill Freeman is the general manager of Clarke Electric Cooperative in Osceola, one of the hardest hit in the early December ice storms. Freeman says they have the power back on, but things are far from back to normal.
Freeman says they are still working on some non-essential services, and says while they have the system back up and running, "We still have pretty significant damage out there, we did get the system up and going, but it is not at this point extremely reliable."
Freeman says the damage was extensive throughout the system. He says there were poles down, broken power lines, trees going through lines, several poles with tops broken that they repaired on the spot, but will have to go back and replace the poles.
Freeman says the assessment is ongoing, and will take another 30 to 60 days, but he estimates it will come out in the four to five million dollar range. Freeman is hopeful the request for federal disaster assistance will be approved to help pay the cost of the repairs.
He says they don’t want all of the costs to go back to the consumers, as it would make a "significant increase in our power costs." The Governor has asked that 30 Iowa counties be declared federal disasters areas for damages to public infrastructure after the ice storm.