FARGO, N.D. — On August 10–11, 2020, a powerful derecho swept across Iowa causing widespread property damage and extensive power outages across the region. With sustained winds in excess of 70 mph, heavy rain, hail, and outbreaks of tornados — the impact was felt by hundreds of thousands of people in the region.
In the aftermath of these storms, Border States worked with utilities in the area to help them in their task to restore power. One of the largest utilities in the area – Alliant Energy had more than 265,000 customers without power. Alliant Energy was facing nearly 4,000 utility structures and 50,000 secondary structures down and brought in over 1,000 crews of three utility workers each from other utilities around the country to help bring power back on line. To allow these crews to work quickly and effectively, they needed to ensure materials were on hand and ready to be deployed.
To support this massive need of product, Border States brought in assistance of their regional operations team, as well as the teams from the Cedar Rapids and Ames, Iowa, branches with support from other branches in neighboring states. The COVID-19 pandemic added to the difficulty of the situation, limiting the amount of in-person interaction and gathering among the team. To address this issue, Border States employed several digital tools to facilitate project management and keep information flowing.
Altogether, more than 24 Border States branch locations from across the country contributed to the effort of bringing in product and seeing it delivered where it was needed. Alliant Energy estimates eight months’ worth of work was completed in just two weeks to get their customers back up and running.
The Alliant Energy Foundation also launched the Project ReConnect fund to aid members of the community who needed help with paying for home repairs to restore power after the storm. With the support of Border States and other partners, Project ReConnect has raised more than $500,000.
In storm response and recovery, it is critical to have a supply chain that is able to quickly and efficiently deliver materials that will allow crews to keep working and get the lights back on. Border States applauds the work done by Alliant Energy and their teams to restore power to their customers, and is grateful to be a continuing partner in that effort.
BSE provides products and services to construction, industrial and utility customers. The 100 percent employee-owned company is rated the seventh largest electrical distributor in the U.S. by Electrical Wholesaling magazine. BSE has approximately 2,300 employees and 98 branches in 22 states. The Branch Support Center (corporate office) is in Fargo, ND.