On ice storm anniversary, BWL chairman calls for more vigorous oversight

Dec 23, 2014

Steve Reed of the Lansing State Journal (center) and Lansing Board of Water and Light Chairman David Price (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit WKAR/Bill Richards

This year’s Christmas holiday is bringing back unpleasant memories of last year’s intense ice storm and power outages. One year ago to the day, thousands of people in the Lansing area were without electricity because of hundreds of downed, ice-coated trees that disconnected lines.  Many residents spent days, some more than a week, without power, often at significant expense. The episode amounted to an embarassing right of passage for the capital city’s municipally-owned utility, the Lansing Board of Water and Light.

Today, the utility has implemented or in the process of implementing dozens of reforms brought to light by the incident. An 11-member Community Review Team spent several months investigating and making those recommendations.

So where exactly does the BWL stand today? Is it better prepared to handle another  emergency?

Current State looks for answers with David Price, a BWL commissioner since 2009. Six months ago, he became chairperson of the eight-member body, charged with oversight of the utility. We also speak with the Lansing State Journal’s Steve Reed, who has spent a good deal of time and energy reporting on the BWL since the storm.