Project ReConnect aims to bring power back to customers

By CBJ News Staff

In the wake of the Aug. 10 derecho, a community collaboration has been formed to bring electricity to Alliant Energy customers who are still without power because of storm-damaged equipment on their homes.

Project ReConnect has been formed in partnership with the Alliant Energy Foundation, United Way of East Central Iowa (UWECI), HACAP and the Local Labor Management Cooperation Committee (LLMCC).

The program will help Alliant Energy customers reconnect personally-owned exterior electrical systems, including the meter box, service mast and weatherhead to restore power to their homes at no cost. Alliant Energy customers who are responsible for their own utilities and need financial assistance to pay for these repairs are encouraged to contact HACAP to apply. Income guidelines apply to those approved.

The Alliant Energy Foundation is seeding the project with an initial $60,000 for the Cedar Rapids area and is matching any employee gift 2:1 for this fund. UWECI is allocating $40,000 from the Disaster Recovery Fund to Project ReConnect, to bring the initial total to $100,000 in support of the community.

“It’s clear the derecho has greatly impacted those families who live on the edge of being financially secure. The additional stress and expense of having to reattach the electrical box or mast to a home could be the difference between remaining financially secure or not for some families,” Kristin Roberts, president and CEO of UWECI, stated in a release.

The combined funding from Alliant Energy and UWECI will help HACAP handle case management and dispatch electricians to customers. The Local Labor Management Cooperation Committee (LLMCC) has committed to providing $25,000 to Project ReConnect to pay for materials. The LLMCC is comprised of local union electrical contractors who employ IBEW Local 405 electricians. These contractors will be offering a discounted rate on their time in efforts to stretch the dollars further.

To receive assistance through Project ReConnect, customers can contact HACAP at (319) 739-0056. CBJ

UPDATED 8/26/20 10:58 a.m.: This story has been updated to correct the list of Project ReConnect’s founding organizations.