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Power outage affects thousands in SW Iowa

Published: Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 11:26 a.m. CDT

A large part of southwest Iowa lost power Thursday because of an issue with Western Area Power Administration, or WAPA.

According to Tom Freml, area supervisor at Central Iowa Power Cooperative, a switch was being performed at a WAPA substation when the southwestern area of Iowa lost power. There is currently an investigation into why the power was lost.

WAPA was unavailable for comment by presstime today.

“Yesterday, we had a pretty substantial outage in southwest Iowa,” said Ryan Stensland, spokesman for Alliant Energy.

Stensland said at 2:29 p.m., power was lost to 9,651 customers.

“We lost power to our customers. Two thousand two hundred seventy six customers were out of power for three minutes. One thousand nine hundred eighty six customers were out for 34 minutes, and the remaining 5,389 were out for 46 minutes. Essentially we got everyone back on about 3:15 p.m.,” said Stensland.

Alliant Energy does not get electricity directly from WAPA, but is somewhat dependent on WAPA keeping power on the grid. When the power was lost, Alliant rerouted it to bring electricity back to the company’s customers. By the time Alliant got power to the remaining 5,389 customers, WAPA had fixed the problem.

“Basically, they just rerouted the power. They call it switching,” Stensland said. “You know, if we lose one line we have some redundancy in the switch so we had to reroute it.”

Afton, Creston, Diagonal, Lenox, Massena and Wiota, as well as rural areas, were among towns without power in Adair, Adams, Cass, Madison, Montgomery, Ringgold, Taylor and Union counties.

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