Alliant Energy officials say by the end of the day, the utility expects just four-thousand of its customers in Cedar Rapids to be without power.
"We have replaced a lot of substation facilities. We have installed some emergency ones," says Vern Gebhart, Alliant’s vice president for customer operations. "We’re back-feeding locations."
The downtown business district in Cedar Rapids is still without power because electricity in the area comes from underground. "Many of the vaults are still flooding. We pump them out and they flood again, so it’s going to be a while. We have to wait for access," he says. "So far we haven’t found any collapses in the tunnels. We hope that continues to be the case because obviously that would slow things down."
Gebhart says Alliant has staff waiting to descend into those underground tunnels in downtown Cedar Rapids, once the water is out. "We’re also bringing in experts from Chicago so we have more than enough resources to throw at this," he says. "As soon as we have full access, we’ve got all the equipment and people we need to make sure everything is secure and safe to start lighting up the downtown area off of the network."