Heat Doesn't Worry Eastern Iowa Utility Companies

By Chelsea Keenan, Reporter

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Utility companies in the Corridor aren't expecting any problems with the power grid this week, even with temperatures forecast to all rise above 90 degrees.

"In light on (Tuesday's) heat and the advisories the rest of the week, MidAmerican Energy has the resources to assist customers in the event of an outage ... but we believe everything should run smoothly," said Abby Bottenfield, spokeswoman for the power company.

The Des Moines-based utility company serves more than 644,000 customers in Iowa

Justin Foss, spokesman for Alliant Energy, said the Wisconsin-based power company is not concerned with the heat, either.

"This is the hottest we've seen this summer, but it's not record breaking," he said. "Everything is working as expected."

Foss added that the company equips the power grid year round to deal with the types of temperatures customers will see this week.

"We have to assume that every day will be like today and be ready for that peak," he added.

Both Alliant and MidAmerican customers took part in a voluntary appliance cycling program this week, which cycled air conditioners for participating customers across Iowa on Monday and Tuesday. Customers enrolled in the program received incentives to have their air conditioners cycled on and off during the afternoon and early evening to reduce overall energy usage.

"Alliant has enough energy, but by reducing the energy used, (Alliant) can reduce the amount of expensive energy we have to buy on the open market," Foss said, explaining that basic supply and demand make energy more expensive as it gets hotter outside. "Reducing the peak amount of energy we buy is something customers directly see on their bills."

Alliant offers a similar program to businesses, Foss said. Commercial businesses that reduce electrical usage to a preset amount can receive a bill credit, he said.

Energy saving tips from MidAmerican:

Close drapes, blinds or shades, particularly those for south and west windows.

Make sure outdoor air-conditioning units are clear of grass, weeds and shrubs and are located in the shade.

Wait until sundown to use heat-producing appliance, including dish washers, irons and dryers.

Place a fan in front of a room air-conditioning unit to use less energy and help spread cool air.

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