Utility Companies to Join National Blackout Drill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's largest electric utilities will participate next week in a national blackout drill.

The Des Moines Register says MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy confirmed they will be involved in GridEx II on Tuesday and Wednesday. The drill is sponsored by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. The nonprofit entity's mission is to ensure the reliability of the bulk power system in North America.

The drill will include a simulated and prolonged blackout and involve thousands of utility workers, business executives, anti-terrorism experts and government officials from the United States, Canada and Mexico.

MidAmerican spokeswoman Julie White described GridEx II as a "tabletop exercise." Alliant spokesman Justin Foss said the drill would not affect Iowa's electrical customers.
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