Since the August derecho devastated much of Iowa, people, businesses and all levels of government have gone to extraordinary lengths to help each other. So, too, did Iowa’s utility providers and their employees.

The scope and magnitude of storm damage was unlike anything Iowa Utility Association member utility providers — MidAmerican, Alliant Energy, ITC Midwest and Black Hills Energy —ever experienced. 

The costliest thunderstorm in the nation’s recorded history ravaged more than 120,000 miles of overhead power lines and destroyed thousands of poles. Large lattice towers, which carry transmission lines, snapped in half. Before surveying utility damage, providers navigated an astonishing amount of property damage and faced threats to their own safety. 

The hundreds of thousands of Iowans who experienced personal losses included our own member provider employees. Still, they helped.

Despite challenges, all hands were on deck. Nearly 4,000 crew members worked hundreds of thousands of hours in more than 300 cities and towns. Our member companies received help from thousands of line, tree and support staff, along with their equipment, from utility companies and contractors from more than two dozen states and Canada. 

Utilities quickly acquired more than 5,000 replacement utility poles, and crews erected them in less than two weeks, though it typically would take 10 months.

We are extremely grateful for Iowa’s utility crews and for utility contractors who helped.

The Iowa Utility Association is proud of how Iowans restored electric service. All of Iowa benefits when we invest in and maintain the infrastructure that powers our customers and our state’s economy. 

I invite everyone to learn more about our investor-owned utilities’ commitment to providing safe service by visiting IowaUtility.org. I have every confidence our providers will continue to provide Iowans with safe and reliable energy. 

Chaz Allen

Iowa Utility Association executive director