Largest storm response effort ever employed by MidAmerican with more than 2,500 crew members from 24 states
DES MOINES, Iowa – One year ago, a derecho – a massive storm with hurricane-like winds – left a trail of destruction across Iowa and Illinois. With more than 290,000 customers without power at its peak, MidAmerican Energy crews acted immediately to respond to emergencies, assess damage, repair the foundations of its systems and restore electric and gas service to each and every customer – mostly within several days.
To commemorate the one-year anniversary, MidAmerican is looking back at how the the August 10, 2020 severe weather event impacted its customers, communities and employees.
The unprecedented storm caused an estimated $11.5 billion in damage across the Midwest and was the costliest thunderstorm disaster in U.S. history, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“It’s hard to believe that just a year ago, we faced one of the biggest challenges our team has ever endured. I am proud to say that all of our planning and preparation paid off, and the team did what it took to restore service to our customers,” John Guy, MidAmerican vice president of electric delivery, said. “While the strength of our response was incredible, the lessons we learned and are now applying to the storms we face are invaluable as well.”
2020 derecho: by the numbers
- The storm caused more than 14,000 incident locations and 458,000 customer service interruptions, affecting nearly 60% of MidAmerican’s customer base
- At the peak, system damage interrupted power to 292,905 customers
- In the first 96 hours, MidAmerican restored power to 86% of impacted customers across its system
- This was the largest storm response effort ever employed by MidAmerican with more than 2,500 crew members from 24 states working at the peak of restoration
- Crews worked to replace approximately 1,000 distribution poles, 61 transmission structures, and rebuild more than 20 miles of primary distribution and transmission lines
- Crews replaced or repaired more than 2,700 overhead electric service lines, which is where the customer connects to the electric distribution system, and approximately 60 gas service lines or meter sets
- In addition to the damage to the electric system, MidAmerican crews responded to more than 1,500 gas leak calls
- During the first 24 hours in Cedar Rapids, MidAmerican responded to 325 gas leak calls – more than six typical days of work
Neighbors helping neighbors
Once MidAmerican finished restoring electric service to its customers, the company responded to a request for assistance from neighboring utility, Alliant Energy. MidAmerican deployed line workers and support employees, plus equipment, to help with restoration efforts in eastern Iowa.
“Our team was personally invested in the outcome of these efforts, because the communities hit the hardest are the ones our employees and families call home, as well,” Guy continued. “MidAmerican crew members had damage at their homes, too, and know first-hand how much it means to get that extra help when you need it the most.”
MidAmerican also offered additional assistance to the city of Cedar Rapids through the company’s corporate citizenship initiative, called MidAmerican Energy CARES (Community Enhancement, Arts and Culture, Environmental Respect, Education/STEM and Safety). The company donated $150,000 in essential supplies and clean-up materials, and more than 200 volunteers went to Cedar Rapids neighborhoods to help with storm cleanup.
About MidAmerican Energy Company
MidAmerican Energy Company, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, serves more than 791,000 electric customers in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota, and 771,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available at MidAmericanEnergy.com and company social media channels.