The first winter storm of the year in Iowa took its toll on ECI REC’s distribution system. Starting at 5:00 a.m. this Thursday, three Benton County substation outages were caused by issues with transmission lines that feed the BECCA, Lindahl, and Shellsburg substations. Near noon, the 50-mile-an-hour winds began affect ECI REC’s ice-covered distribution lines, resulting in broken lines and damaged equipment that caused just over 500 outages in the southwest Benton county service area, near Van Horne and the surrounding areas.
After the first outage call, crews were immediately dispatched. In all, five two-man crews worked until 11 p.m. Thursday evening fixing distribution equipment to restore electricity to the 450 members who were still without power at the time.
At 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning, five two-man crews again headed out to continue repairs on the damaged distribution system. After nearly 3.5 hours, crews had restored power to 200 more members.
As of the time of publication of this news release (2 p.m. Friday), crews have restored power to 225 additional members and anticipate they will have power restored to the remaining 25 members by early to mid-afternoon, if all goes as hoped.
Steve Marlow, operations manager, is working remotely from his home to manage the outages and assisting crews to restore electricity. “Things are moving along well, just more slowly than our crews would likeâ€•the more than 12 inches of heavy snow, along with the underlying layer of ice and dropping temperatures, are burdens that can add time to our crew’s efforts to repair the damaged lines and equipment.”