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What to expect when the power goes out
Nearly 75% of all power outages in our service area are repaired in two hours or less. It’s important you let us know if your power goes out. More information helps us know how large the outage is and pinpoint the possible cause. Once we’re aware of an outage we send our crews to the area where they will make repairs and start the power flowing again.
Our process to restore power
- Make sure critical services, like police and fire departments, and hospitals have power.
- Check generation facilities to determine if the original power source is still operating.
- Repair transmission lines that carry electricity from the generation stations to substations.
- Repair substations where high-voltage power from the transmission lines is reduced for home usage.
- Repair distribution lines that carry electricity from substations to each neighborhood.
- Repair the tap lines that serve anywhere from 20 to 300 homes and businesses.
- Reconnect lines to individual customers - this is the most difficult and time-consuming step in the restoration process.
When this process is complete, your home may still be without power. That means there is damage to your home's electrical system and you will need to contact a licensed electrician.
If we need to shut off your natural gas, our technicians will do so safely and gas will remain off until we make system repairs.
- Do not shut your own gas off or try to turn your own gas on.
- Once repairs have been made, our technician will come to your property to turn your gas back on at no charge. Alliant Energy employees carry badges with photo identification.
- Our technician will need access to relight your pilots: stove, water heater, furnace, fire place, etc. An adult (18 years and older) must be present for our technicians to enter a home.
- If you are not home when we come to relight, we will leave a message on your front door or garage door to call us at 1-800-255-4268 for an appointment.
Are you going to remove the downed trees on my property?
No. Trees that fall during a storm are the responsibility of the property owner. When damaged trees and broken branches are tangled with electric lines and broken poles, we bring in tree-trimming crews to free the lines and allow them to be repaired; we do not remove the debris.
You own some of the equipment that brings electricity into your home. If any of these items is damaged, call a licensed electrician to fix them immediately. These repairs must be done before our crews can restore your service. Our crews cannot repair customer equipment.
Have you ever come home to find your digital clocks flashing "12:00"? It's caused by a power blink – a brief interruption that's designed to prevent a longer power outage.
Blinks occur when an obstruction, like a tree limb, comes into contact with a power line or transformer. To prevent damage to the utility system or your home, a circuit breaker interrupts the electricity for a fraction of a second.
If the limb remains on the line, the breaker opens (power is interrupted) and tries to close again. If the obstruction is still on the line after the third try, the breaker opens and does not close automatically.
At this point, a utility worker must be dispatched to remove the obstruction and manually reset the breaker.
Power blinks rarely cause damage to equipment. Older digital clocks and other devices are the most vulnerable to blinks; newer models are designed to ride out these small voltage fluctuations.
A power surge is a variation in electrical voltage. Power surges last less than 1/100th of a second and range in intensity depending on the situation.
Up to 80% of all power surges originate within the home - when devices with motors shut off or start up, diverting energy to and from other appliances. Common culprits of internal surges are power tools, refrigerators, printers and hair dryers. Smaller "everyday" surges can slowly destroy your expensive electric appliances - a process called "electronic rust."
External power surges are generally caused by uncontrollable events, such as lightning strikes, animals interfering with electrical equipment, and vehicle accidents with utility poles. Large power surges, such as lightning, can instantly ruin your TV, computer and other electronics.
Is Alliant Energy responsible for power surges?
Most surges are caused by factors outside of the control of telephone, cable and electric utilities. We are not responsible for surges that we do not cause, including those caused by lightning, animals, tree limbs, faulty wiring or surges created within your home.
How can I protect my home electronics from power surges?
The best way to prevent damage from power surges is to invest in high-quality surge protectors. All programmable appliances should be connected to a surge protector, including home entertainment systems, computer equipment and other digital devices.
Also remember that power surges can come into your home through other utility lines as well as electrical, so be sure to connect incoming cable and satellite TV lines, and all telephone lines, including fax and modem.