Mid-American Works To Clear Trees, Turn On Lights - FOX 18 Quad Cities News and Weather

Mid-American Works To Clear Trees, Turn On Lights

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Thousands of Quad Citians remain in the dark tonight as Mid-American Energy workers try to get those lights turned back on.

The company reports its reliability to both Iowa and Illinois, allowing the state to track if its doing all it can to keep the electricity flowing.

As workers chop their way through this large tree, homeowner Corina Nesbitt can't help but wonder, could this have been prevented?

"Just by looking at it, you could look at the limb, and see that it was definitely going to hit the line if it came down," Nesbitt said.

She called Mid-American to check out her tree. The company had told her it was checking the lines, but when they stopped to visit last week.

"They said that they didn't feel it was a threat so they weren't going to touch it," Nesbitt said.

Mid-American spends millions maintaining its lines and clearing trees. In its annual reliability reports, the company said it spent $19 million on trees last year alone in Iowa. Tree and storm related outages make up the bulk of power outages though, and Illinois power officials wrote in a 2010 report that Mid-American didn't seem to be doing enough vegetation control in Illinois.

"I actually expected it to be worse, I thought it would hit the house more, but I knew it was going to hit those lines," Nesbitt said.

Mid-American Energy did not have time to answer our questions today but in its annual reports it does not budget for major outages because it can not predict how much damage a storm will cause.

The annual reports show the number of tree outages is falling in both states. Weather outages tend to fluctuate, but Nesbitt believes this situation is different. She thinks their inspection process didn't work this time.

"I definitely think they could have done more here," Nesbitt said. "I can't speak for all the rest of their activities but I know this could have been avoided."

A possibility that's as hard to predict as the weather.


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