Several times over the past four weeks, power outages have left some Story City Municipal Electric Utility customers to be without electricity. Those outages have been due to unrelated events, according to city officials.
The high number of outages is unusual but for the most part has been beyond the control of the utility, said Utility Administrator Jeff Ishmael.
“I apologize for the inconvenience caused by these outages and want to assure our customers that we are doing everything we can to ensure a reliable supply of electricity,” Ishmael said.
On two occasions all customers of the utility lost power due to issues with the electric transmission line that brings power into Story City.
Most customers north of Broad Street lost power on a Friday when a contractor inadvertently caused overhead wires to come into contact with a pole.
The following morning, the same customers lost power when a cement truck, traveling off-road, caught a communication cable attached to power poles on one of the utility’s main circuits, breaking one off, which resulted in the outage.
The weather has also played a role in multiple outages caused by strong winds and lightning, Ishmael said.
“We’ve greatly increased our tree trimming efforts over the past year, which has reduced problems caused by limbs in the wires. But that doesn’t help when entire trees or large parts of them fall onto them,” Ishmael said.
The rash of outages comes as the utility is undertaking a major rebuild of much of its electric distribution system. This work began earlier this year and will continue through the next month.
Ishmael explained that this work is unrelated to the recent outages.
“While the work we’re doing now will ensure reliable service in the future, no amount of work could have prevented the outages we’ve experienced over the past month,” he said.