Powering Strong Communities

City of Ames, Iowa, restores power in wake of storm; NPPD sends crews to help Iowa IOU

The City of Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 12 reported making good progress in restoring power to residents of the city in the wake of power outages that hit Ames on Monday, Aug. 10.

“A storm that saw wind gusts of up to 100 mph in central Iowa knocked down trees and power lines and caused widespread power outages and road closures in Story County and the surrounding areas Monday morning,” the Ames Tribune reported.

On Aug. 10, the city tweeted that all of Ames was without power and noted that Ames Electric Services crews were checking lines.

The city also reminded residents to stay away from downed power lines, watch for tree limbs and watch traffic lights, most of which were out.

Ames noted that it received mutual aid from four other communities and that crews had prioritized the work by restoring the most customers in the fastest time.

Ames subsequently reported that 80% of Ames Electric Services customers had been restored Tuesday night (Aug. 11).

NPPD sends crews to help MidAmerican Energy with restoration efforts

Meanwhile, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) reported in an Aug. 12 tweet that it had sent personnel to Iowa to help investor-owned MidAmerican Energy with power restoration efforts.

On Aug. 10, MidAmerican Energy reported that 100 mph winds slammed through its service territory causing widespread storm damage, knocking out power to 250,000 customers are without power.

“We sent 14 line techs and distribution superintendents plus a mechanic,” NPPD Corporate Media and Media Services Supervisor Mark Becker noted in an email.

Becker also provided details on what precautions NPPD lineworkers are taking to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19 while they are helping with restoration?

“Our crews will be required to wear masks as expected; sanitizing hands; cabs of trucks; limited interaction with customers with an emphasis on social distancing,” he said in the email.

MidAmerican will “handle all the door knocking when needed,” he noted. The IOU has similar requirements for its crews.

Morning tail gate safety meetings will require social distancing as they are now in-state, Becker said.

Becker was asked if he had an estimate in terms of how many days NPPD lineworkers are expected to be in Iowa.

“We anticipate that crews will be needed going into the weekend,” he said, noting that MidAmerican will make the call on when to release NPPD crews. “Our crews met with Mid-Am officials Tuesday night and were given information on the areas they would be working on, which our people appreciated. Once they do all their stretching and safety meetings they can move right into working.”

Becker noted that the damage “appears to be extensive to structures, residences and businesses, as well as corn fields that have been flattened all over Iowa.”

IOU Alliant Energy also hit with major power outages on Aug. 10

Another Iowa IOU, Alliant Energy, on Aug. 10 reported that it had more than 240,000 customers without power.

In an Aug. 12 tweet, Alliant Energy noted that it has brought in crews from neighboring states to assist with its power restoration efforts.