POWER OUTAGES: Strong Winds Causing Problems

Sunday night, the wind knocked out power to 5,300 MidAmerican customers across Iowa.

Power has been restored to almost all of them, but the way things have been going this winter it seems like it’s only a matter of time before it happens again.

For Ben Madren to give the perfect tattoo, he needs to be creative, precise, and he needs his equipment to work properly.

Twice he’s gone into the shop with no power to fire up his tattoo guns.

“If you don’t have electricity, you can’t do tattoos and you’re going to lose out on money. If you don’t work, you don’t eat,” said Madren.

Ben works by appointment with some customers arranging their tattoo sessions months in advance.

It is never easy having to cancel on an excited customer.

“There’s nothing you can do but schedule it out another couple of weeks or a month,” said Madren.

The 5150 Tattoo Studio is on Merle Hay Road. It’s an older neighborhood with mature trees surrounding the power lines.

According to Tina Potthoff from MidAmerican Energy, these are the neighborhoods most prone to outages.

“The cause of almost every outage has been a limb coming down on a wire or tree knocking down a wire,” said Potthoff.

The extreme cold caused by high winds forces MidAmerican to send multiple crews to fix one grid.

“We have back-ups for back-ups. We want to make sure we’re protecting our crews,” Potthoff told Channel 13 News.

Unlike a major snow or ice storm, a grid hit by high winds is generally a quick fix.

“It comes in, then it leaves. You’re able to make the restorations,” said Potthoff.

In less than three weeks, MidAmerican has had to respond to 50 or more incidents of damaged power lines on three separate occasions.

In some cases, an incident may only knock out power to one or two people, in others, hundreds of people can be affected.



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