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What to expect when the power goes out

It’s scary when your power suddenly goes out, and you grab a flashlight or use the light on your smartphone to navigate through your home. Rest assured, Alliant Energy crews are on it, restoring electricity to your home or business as safely and quickly as we possibly can.

We’ve enhanced the resilience of the energy grid and do our best to minimize the length of an outage. Our crews and operations team stay informed and ready to respond to all kinds of events. Their trucks are always loaded with the proper materials and equipment to respond to whatever type of inclement weather or emergency might come their way. Crews plan ahead so they can immediately move into action once the storm or incident has passed.

First focus: Prevent an outage from happening.

Fallen trees or stray branches that grow into lines are a leading cause of power outages. One way Alliant Energy averts this hazard and increases power reliability is by burying lines underground – and, we’re preparing to bury even more lines. To further prevent outages, we trim tree branches along our more than 5,000 miles of power lines to protect the trees’ health but also provide minimum safety clearance.

If an outage occurs, smart meters send signals.

Smart meters provide near-real time information you can use to monitor your energy use. If you lose power, they send an instant signal to our computers. These alerts pinpoint the location of the outage – which could be anything – from a tree falling on a line, to a vehicle hitting a power pole, or a house on fire.

Practice patience so everyone remains safe.

We know it’s easier said than done, but we appreciate your patience. You can trust that our crews will do everything possible to swiftly restore your power.

Sometimes, we can’t start our work until an area is deemed safe to enter. If a car hits a pole, for example, we may have to wait until a rescue crew clears the area.

If we need to replace a pole, we must dig a new hole before we can place a new one. First, we locate underground utilities in the area before we dig, and then frame the new pole with required components including cross arms and lightning arrestors.

You may notice that even though we have specialized tools and trucks, we sometimes must work by hand, using shovels to dig holes for the new pole if we’re too close to other underground lines or pipes. If we can’t fit our truck into a small space, our line workers use ropes and slings to carry the 40-foot-pole to its proper place.

Stay safe by staying back away from lines.

Safety is everyone’s number one priority. Please stay away from fallen lines until Alliant Energy arrives at the scene of the power outage and de-energizes the area to make it safe. Then we can get to work and restore your power, so the house lights go on and the flashlights go off.

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