On April 1, 2019, MidAmerican Energy Company announced it will deliver and install emergency generators to western Iowa customers in flooded areas who are without electricity, live in homes that are not flooded, and whose homes are deemed safe for the temporary hookups.
This weekend, the company dispatched nearly 50 portable generators from Des Moines to a holding facility in Council Bluffs for delivery to qualified customers who request them. MidAmerican Energy transported generators in a new emergency response trailer that the company designed to assist its crews with restoring customers.
“The devastating flooding – particularly along the I-29 corridor – continues to affect our electric infrastructure and our customers in parts of western and southwestern Iowa,” Jim Dougherty, vice president of electric delivery, said. “While we can’t safely restore regular service to homes that are currently flooded or to some areas that are flooded, we want to give our customers a temporary option as long as they can meet certain conditions,” he added. “For a customer who requests it, we will install a portable generator if they don’t have power but are certified for service restoration following an inspection. Obviously, we have to be able to reach the property with our crews and equipment and make sure everything is safe.”
Customers must have inspection, safe access for generator installation
MidAmerican Energy customers who are eligible for an emergency generator must be without power due to area flooding, the home cannot be currently flooded and the customer must obtain a proper inspection and approval for electric service restoration. The property must be safely accessible.
Customers should contact their county emergency management office or appropriate city administrator about applicable state or local electrical inspection and certification requirements. If there are no local requirements, MidAmerican Energy requires a licensed electrician to conduct an inspection.
MidAmerican Energy will deliver and install a temporary generator and five-gallon fuel tank, free of charge, for use until the company restores their regular service. Customers are responsible for providing their own generator fuel.
“While a portable generator won’t provide the same capacity as what we provide through normal service, it enables customers to power lights, and also some appliances and devices,” Dougherty said. “We are working every day to fully restore service to all of our customers where it’s safe to do so. For some customers, this may be a way to get the lights back on – at least for now.”
Customers can determine whether they meet the company’s requirements and request a generator by calling MidAmerican Energy at 888-427-5632.
Flooding safety and impact on electric and gas service
Customers should be alert for how flooding could impact their electric and natural gas service, as well as their safety. Avoid standing water, which could carry electrical current from downed power lines. And anyone who smells natural gas in a building should leave immediately and call their gas provider from a safe location.
Important safety information
• Low or downed wires and standing water: When approaching your home, watch for downed or low-hanging wires, and stay away from standing water. Assume that all lines are energized. Be aware that standing water can carry electrical current if there’s a nearby line that is energized. If you see any downed or low-hanging wires, do not go near them and call MidAmerican Energy. To report an electric emergency such as this, call MidAmerican Energy at 800-799-4443.
• Flooded homes and basements can be dangerous: NEVER go into a flooded home or basement unless you are certain the electricity is shut off. If you are unsure whether the power is on or off, call your electric company or a professional electrician. If your home was flooded and you do not have sufficient knowledge of electrical wiring and appliances, call a professional electrician. Do not turn on any lights or appliances until an electrician has checked your home for short circuits in appliances, wiring or other electrical equipment.
• Breakers and fuses: Before resetting breakers or replacing blown fuses, unplug electric appliances if you can do so without standing in water or on a wet surface. Do not check fuses or circuit breakers or operate any electric appliance while standing in water or on a wet surface. Cut off power at the breaker box only if you can do it safely and without standing in water.
• Do not turn on your own service: If your property sustained damage during the event, before service can be restored, an inspection may be required by city, county or state inspectors or professional electricians or plumbers. To have your service restored after repair and inspection, call MidAmerican Energy at 800-432-0586. Assistance is available 24 hours every day.
• Leave immediately if you smell natural gas: If you smell gas at any time, leave the building immediately and call your gas company from a safe location. To report a gas leak to MidAmerican Energy, call 800-595-5325.
Sign up for alerts
Customers can also visit www.MidAmericanEnergy.com and register for My Account to sign up to receive text alerts or email notifications to let them know when crews are projected to be working in their area, and once service is restored.
About MidAmerican Energy Company
MidAmerican Energy Company, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, serves more than 783,000 electric customers in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota, and 765,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available at MidAmericanEnergy.com and company social media channels.