lansing board of water and light

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero saved the biggest news in his tenth State of the City address tonight until the end. 

The mayor proposed three city charter changes that would make Lansing's electric utility more accountable to city hall.

The Lansing Board of Water & Light has been under fire for more than a year.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor is expected to call for a major restructuring of the city’s electric utility tonight.

When Mayor Virg Bernero takes to the podium tonight to deliver his tenth State of the City address, who will run the Lansing Board of Water & Light will top of the agenda.

Former BWL GM, Peter Lark.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing Board of Water & Light fired its general manager yesterday. The commission voted five-to-three to terminate J. Peter Lark's contract. Lark took a barrage of criticism because of BWL's response to a huge ice storm just before Christmas 2013.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing Board of Water & Light fired its general manager today during a brief, hastily called meeting. 

With little discussion, the BWL commission voted five to three to terminate J. Peter Lark’s contract. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing Board of Water & Light has chosen a longtime city firefighter as its new emergency operations manager.

Trent Atkins is the city's assistant fire chief.

BWL was heavily criticized for its response to an ice storm last December. More than 40,000 BWL customers lost electricity in the wake of the Dec. 21 ice storm. Thousands spent 10 days or more waiting for the lights to come back on.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The average Lansing Board of Water & Light electric and water customer can expect to see their bills increase, if proposed rate hikes go through.

The utility board will decide next week whether to approve the changes. 

“I don’t imagine any customers are looking forward to rate increase,” admits J. Peter Lark, BWL’s General Manager, “but I think it’s essential.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor may have real ‘power’ at his fingertips at times of emergency, if city voters agree in November.

Tens of thousands of Lansing Board of Water and Light customers spent days in the dark last December after a major ice storm.   The utility’s leadership was heavily criticized for a disorganized response to the black out. 

BWL’s response to the storm and its aftermath were the subject of reviews by a panel appointed by Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, the state Public Service Commission and by the utility itself.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing Board of Water and Light wants to build Michigan’s largest solar power facility.

BWL officials say they want to contract with companies or organizations to build a solar power facility to generate up to five megawatts of electricity. Altogether the project could potentially be five times bigger than the next largest solar array in the state.

BWL’s proposal is a little vague on specifics, including where a facility would be located.

A utility spokesman says the project could provide enough electricity to power 2500 homes.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing residents will get some additional help next time a massive ice storm knocks out their electricity.

Last December, about 40,000 Lansing Board of Water and Light customers lost their power during a pre-Christmas ice storm. Thousands spent the holiday in the dark as utility crews tried to restore power.   

The heavy ice yanked the wiring out of about 1,000 homes and businesses. Homeowners had to track down electricians during the holidays to reconnect homes to electric meters before power could be restored. Many had to wait 11 to 12 days.

BWL's general manager issued a statement saying the utility has "already begun implementing many of the improvements recommended by the MPSC."
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State utility regulators are the latest to give Lansing’s city electric utility poor marks for how it handled a massive ice storm in December.

The Michigan Public Service Commission says the Lansing Board of Water & Light was not prepared for the Dec. 21 ice storm that knocked out power to about 40,000 BWL customers. Many customers had to wait 10 days or more to get their electricity restored.

The MPSC report echoes the findings of BWL’s own internal review and a panel appointed by Lansing’s mayor. Among other things, the MPSC says BWL needs to improve its tree trimming and communications programs. The public service commission does not regulate BWL, so its findings are little more than recommendations for change.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero asked for the state review. He says the three reports will provide a “road map” for BWL to be a more reliable energy provider.

BWL’s general manager issued a statement saying the utility has “already begun implementing many of the improvements recommended by the MPSC.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing Board of Water and Light plans to hire someone to handle planning for future emergencies.

One of the biggest criticisms BWL received after last December’s major power outage was that the utility wasn't communicating well with those most affected.

About 40,000 people lost power during the Dec. 21 ice storm. Many had to wait 10 days or more to get their lights turned back on.

A recent report claims the utility also failed to keep in touch with local governments, which were also struggling to recover from a major pre-Christmas ice storm.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The length of last December's power outage in Lansing was made worse by problems within the city's utility, according to a new report.

For four months, a special panel has been reviewing what went wrong during a Dec. 21 ice storm that left thousands of BWL customers in the dark for 10 days or more. In all, the storm knocked out power to about 40,000 BWL customers just before Christmas.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An internal report finds a key communication system that failed during December’s ice storm had been malfunctioning for months before the storm.

The Lansing Board of Water and Light released the findings of an internal review of its response to the storm last night.  More than 35,000 BWL customers lost power, some for as long as 10 days.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The panel that oversees the Lansing Board of Water and Light this evening will review the findings of a "top-to-bottom" internal probe of the utility’s response to a devastating December ice storm.

The Dec. 22 ice storm knocked out electricity to more than 35,000 BWL customers. It took the utility more than a week to get the lights back on.

Customers complain the utility was slow to respond to the outage, and even slower to respond to their telephone calls.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing City Council picked a new president last night.

It’s a routine bit of government business that in recent years has been anything but routine.

Sharp divisions between the supporters and opponents of Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero have made the selection of a council president quite contentious during the past few years. Two years ago, the council needed a dozen votes to select a president. Last year, the selection process was rife with angry accusations.

But last night, A’Lynne Boles was elected president with little drama.  

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor wants an independent review of how the city’s utility handled a major power outage last month.

The Lansing Board of Water and Light has been criticized for the long wait many of its customers had before their electricity was restored after the Dec. 22 ice storm. About 40% of BWL’s customers lost power after the storm. Many had to wait for more than a week to have their lights turned back on.

Consumers Energy

State regulators are going to spend the next few months assessing how well Consumers Energy and DTE responded to a massive power outage after an ice storm last month.

It’s estimated 626,000 DTE and Consumers Energy customers lost power after the Dec. 22 ice storm.  

It was New Year’s Eve by the time the utilities restored power to most of its customers.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing Board of Water and Light officials are defending their heavily criticized response to last month’s major power outage.

BWL customers like Alice Dreger are livid over having to wait more than a week for their power to be turned back on.

"Let me tell you, when you have live wires down for nine to 12 days, safety is not job one,” Dreger told a packed meeting last night at BWL’s headquarters.

But a majority of those taking the podium praised the work of BWL employees. Most were BWL employees and officials, though a few were BWL customers.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

In the midst of the current weather crisis, Lansing utility officials plan to spend time tonight trying to figure out what went wrong during the last weather crisis in the capitol city.

Two weeks ago, an ice storm knocked out power to 40% of Lansing Board of Water and Light customers.

Many customers grew very angry as they waited for more than a week to get their electricity turned back on. That anger only grew worse when it was learned that the man in charge of the city’s utility left town during the outage to spend time with his family in New York.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

It's going to be another cold one

Wind chills could reach 26 below zero in West Michigan, 32 below in mid Michigan, and 40 below in Southeast Michigan today. Gov. Rick Snyder is asking people to stay home during the cold snap.

New report offers plans to fight Asian carp

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a report years in the making that offers eight plans for preventing Asian carp and other species from migrating between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi basin. Some options involve placing physical barriers in the waterways to separate the watersheds. Other potential steps include use of locks, electric barriers and water treatment to remove invasive species," the Associated Press reports.

Lansing utility scheduled to meet about ice storm that left thousands without power for days

The Lansing Board of Water and Light is scheduled to meet tonight regarding the ice storm that left 40% of its customers without power for more than a week. The utility's general manager,  J. Peter Lark,  has apologized for going to New York City on vacation when the power went out.

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