More than 4,000 customers of Iowa’s two largest utilities have lost power this morning. Alliant Energy reports about 450 customers in the dark across several southern Iowa counties, while MidAmerican Energy says 3,800 customers lost electricity, most in the Quad Cities area. Mark Reinders, a MidAmerican spokesman, says crews were prepared for the blizzard.
“We are geared to this kind of situation 24-7 anyway and it accelerates when there’s a storm,” Reinders says. “Our crews are communicating, making sure everything in the truck is loaded and ready to go, as well as we have a number of on-hand personnel to help out.” While parts of Iowa have been buried under 18 inches of snow, Reinders says the flakes aren’t their biggest concern.
“The snow isn’t really such an overriding factor in a storm situation compared to ice and wind — those are the two nastier parts of Mother Nature that we have to contend with,” he says. “The ice gets on the power lines and the wind, obviously, can bring those power lines down if they get heavy.” Reinders says repair crews are spread out in several locations, working to get electricity restored, but he notes, there are times when the utility teams have to wait for snowplows to access remote areas.
“We’re not going to send the crews out if we’re going to be putting them in danger; the work they do is dangerous enough,” he says. “We’re not going to put them out where the travel is so overwhelmingly dangerous that they’re more likely to have accidents. However, having said that, we want to get out there as quickly and safely as possible to get the power restored.”
Contribute by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton