Alliant Energy's Electric Workers Return Home
By Jillian Petrus, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - All of Alliant Energy's electric workers are returning home to eastern Iowa tonight.
A call for mutual aid after Hurricane Sandy sent them to New York and other areas along the east coast for almost two weeks. The Alliant Crews say people were beyond grateful for the help from Alliant and other midwest energy operations.
Workers did say that they noticed residents quickly growing impatient with the slow progress restoring power.
Members of the team unloaded their gear Tuesday night after working thousands of hours on the east coast.
It's home sweet home for seventy crewman with Alliant Energy
"Tree damage wires down polls down just sporadic throughout the territory," said Jason Sauser, an Operations Manager with Alliant.
The crews from nine Iowa towns including Cedar Rapids, Lisbon and Dubuque traveled more than 2200 miles to answer the call for aid.
"They were just appreciative we'd come all that way to get their power restored."
But after more than a week without running water, heat and electricity, crew members said they noticed tensions rising among residents.
"As we progressed into that second week, people started getting impatient with the return of electrical services," said Kent Sodawasser, Senior Safety Manager with Alliant.
"Maybe were frustrated with the power company but not so much with us we'd get done they were thankful bringing us coffee for the guys," Sauser said.
They also needed to adjust to new terrain and some unique challenges like black bears, snakes and ticks.
Team leaders said they were working with an older system and electrical grid out east.
"The traffic was the worst part just getting to the job site once we got there we knew what we had to do," Sauser said.
"Everything we did on the east coast, we will apply in our next storm situation." said Sodawasser.
Some of Alliant's gas crews are still on the east coast. In total, all of Alliant crews have worked a combined 30,000 hours.
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