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Alliant Energy still working on repairing streetlights after derecho

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 10:33 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Several months after the August 10 derecho, many streetlights are still dark.

Bob Grafton, the president of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association, said the homes on his street got power back nine days after the derecho, But months later, at night, it’s still pitch black outside.

“There’s a lot of people who drive down this street with their high beams, their bright’s on. That’s how dark it is," Grafton said. “It’s kind of widespread, I just think it’s, unfortunately, part of the storm recovery."

Alliant Energy said their first priority after the derecho was restoring power to businesses and homes. At the end of October, Alliant Energy began working on repairing or replacing the thousands of streetlights damaged by the derecho. The company’s Director of Operations Mayuri Farlinger said there are crews working in every quadrant of Cedar Rapids, along with crews in Marion, Hiawatha, and Robins.

Farlinger said the biggest delay to getting the remaining street lights illuminated is the tree and other derecho debris still in the way.

“Many of these streetlights and the wire associated with them were sitting under piles of trees, shrubs, debris. So until that was cleared, we couldn’t really work safely and effectively,” says Farlinger.

Farlinger said they have heard from concerned residents who still have dark streetlights in their neighborhood.

“Our customers are concerned, right, because streetlights equal safety and security for individuals," Farlinger said.

With no timeline for when streetlights will come back on, Grafton and his neighborhood are doing what they can to keep each other safe by turning on their porch lights.

“It’s just when the lights are illuminated it looks safer, plus it kind of unifies the neighborhood a little bit," Grafton said.

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