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International award applauds company’s efforts in response to February 2007 ice storm
MADISON, WI – January 9, 2008 – The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) presented Interstate Power and Light Company (IPL), a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation (NYSE: LNT), with a 2007 Emergency Recovery Award at a luncheon ceremony in Scottsdale, Arizona earlier today during the winter EEI CEO Conference and Board Meeting. The award recognizes IPL’s exemplary effort in recovering from the worst storm in company history.
“I am delighted to accept this award and I could not be prouder of our company’s employees and their response to the adversity created by the destruction of the winter storms that hit Iowa and southern Minnesota this past February,” said Bill Harvey, Chairman and CEO of Alliant Energy. “The devastation caused by this storm to our electric transmission and distribution system was unprecedented in the history of our company. Yet, the team effort to restore power that included customers, employees, contract crews, workers from neighbor utilities, as well as state and local government, was simply amazing.”
On Saturday, February 24, 2007, a severe winter storm hit the State of Iowa and southern Minnesota paralyzing the region, closing major roads and highways, and leaving more than 269,000 of IPL’s electric customers without power. High winds, ice, snow and sleet left more than 2,000 distribution poles and 1,600 transmission structures destroyed or damaged, and 1,000 miles of transmission conductor – some with more than three inches of ice clinging to it – down. There were 103 towns without power for more than 24 hours and nearly 300,000 customer calls were handled by company call centers during the first weekend of the storm.
Despite challenging work conditions and continued flare ups from Mother Nature, IPL launched an aggressive and organized restoration effort. Crews were mobilized and set to work rebuilding the majority of the company’s delivery system. They were soon joined by fellow workers from Alliant Energy’s sister utility Wisconsin Power and Light (WPL) as well as workers from Northwestern Energy (South Dakota), American Electric Power (Ohio), Xcel Energy (Minnesota) and Westar Energy (Kansas). Contract workers also pitched in from Iowa and several surrounding states. At the peak of the restoration effort, more than 1,500 crew members were on site working to restore power to customers as safely and quickly as possible.
Behind the scenes, employees worked to procure supplies, serve meals, set-up shelters, meet with customers, contact city officials, answer customer calls and conduct media interviews. For more than a week, people worked around the clock to rebuild, restock and restore the electric system. IPL’s customers pitched in with support and great patience as well. There was also cooperation and assistance from the Iowa National Guard, Iowa Homeland Security, Emergency Management Division, American Red Cross and more. Permanent repairs and rebuilds – especially to large transmission systems – continued through July 2007.
“When the magnitude of the storm was realized, we immediately implemented our emergency preparedness plan, including setting up an emergency operations center and field emergency procedures,” Harvey said. “Through our plans, we mobilized all available employees and put them on the ground to begin the arduous task of restoring power to more than 50% of IPL’s customers. Training, experience, instincts and advance planning pulled it all together for us.”
The EEI Emergency Recovery Award honors electric utilities for their outstanding efforts to restore electric service following major storms or other natural events. It is presented annually to U.S. and foreign-based member companies to recognize outstanding efforts in restoring disrupted electric service. Winners are chosen by a panel of judges following a national and international nomination process, and awards are presented during EEI’s winter CEO meetings held every January.
“Alliant Energy employees, in rebuilding almost their entire delivery system from the ground up as well as repairing damaged transmission infrastructure, accomplished in days what usually takes years,” added EEI President Thomas R. Kuhn. “It was a powerful response to an extremely powerful storm.”