Lansing Board of Water and Light

Picture of David Hollister and Virg Bernero
Mark Bashore / WKAR

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says it’s time to explore the possibility of selling the city-owned Board of Water and Light. Bernero has called on the city’s Financial Health Team to begin studying such a move. Current State talks to ex-Mayor David Hollister, who chairs the team, about the issue.


www.lansingcitypulse.com

 

Every week, our first guest shares his views in the pages of the Lansing City Pulse, where he serves as Associate Publisher.

Recently, Mickey Hirten has opined on a potential sale of the Lansing Board of Water and Light--a good move in his view--and the future of the Lansing City Market.

Current State checks in with Mickey on those issues and his upcoming column  that will look into a recent initiative by the Catholic Diocese of Lansing to assist the poor in the city of Flint.

Picture of David Hollister and Virg Bernero
Mark Bashore / WKAR

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says the time has come to explore the possibility of selling the city-owned Board of Water and Light. According to a statement provided to Lansing City Pulse, Bernero views potential changes involving the BWL as “a way to address our long term liabilities.” However,  he said any decision at this point, “would be premature.”

Wikimedia Commons/Paul R. Kucher

Four months of negotiations between Lansing’s Board of Water and Light and the utility’s former General Manager, Peter Lark, concluded last night.

BWL commissioners agreed unanimously to settle with Mr. Lark for $650,000 after his January dismissal “for cause” by those same commissioners.  A dismissal “for cause” implies employee misconduct.  Current State gets an update from LSJ reporter Steven Reed, who has covered the BWL since the 2013 ice storm that eventually led to yesterday’s agreement.  

https://twitter.com/bwlcomm/status/555484827411963904
Credit: Lansing Board of Water and Light

For two months, our first guest has been navigating highly publicized change at the Lansing Board of Water and Light. Dick Peffley’s retirement was interrupted in mid-January when he was asked to serve as interim General Manager of the city-owned utility after the sudden dismissal of Peter Lark. Peffley spent 38-years at the Board of Water and Light in several managerial positions including as Executive Director of Operations and once before as interim General Manager. When he accepted the job, he commented “I want to do what’s best for the BWL and our cu

http://lbwl.com/

Some downtown Lansing residents are being watched intently for signs of courtship. The saga of the peregrine falcons who live at the Lansing Board of Water and Light’s Eckert Power Station continues with some new twists.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

More than a year after he came under fire for his utility’s heavily criticized response to widespread ice storm outages, Peter Lark has been dismissed as General Manager of the Lansing Board of Water and Light. In a 5-to-3 vote, the board that oversees the city-owned utility voted to fire Lark with cause. The motion also named former BWL manager Dick Pefley as interim GM.

Joe Linstroth/WKAR

Two members of the board that oversees the Lansing Board of Water and Light have called for a meeting to discuss whether General Manager Peter Lark should be running Lansing's city-owned utility.  That meeting is set for 4:30 this afternoon at BWL headquarters on South Washington.  

Current State talks to the Lansing State Journal's Steven Reed who broke the news Monday evening. 

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.

Credit Joe Linstroth/WKAR

Mid-Michigan is already getting a taste of winter, no matter what the calendar says. As the weather turns colder, the Lansing Board of Water and Light is preparing for the possibility of power outages.

Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Eleven months ago, the Lansing Board of Water and Light came under intense criticism for its response to a historic power outage just days before Christmas. About 40-percent of the BWL’s customers lost electricity for several days. The incident sparked a detailed,  independent review of the agency’s procedures. Now, the Lansing Board of Water and Light has named Lansing Assistant Fire Chief Trent Atkins as its first-ever Emergency Operations Manager.

WKAR

After months of repercussions stemming from December’s ice storm and power outages that affected thousands of people, the Lansing Board of Water and Light continues to generate headlines. Some customers complain of overly aggressive tree trimming by the city-owned utility. Others question the justification for a proposed rate hike. In June, the BWL Board appeared to violate the state’s Open Meetings Act.

Courtesy City of Lansing

A’Lynne Boles is currently serving as president of the Lansing City Council.  It’s her third tenure as president, and she's in her seventh year on the council.

Boles represents the city’s third ward, which covers the southwest part of Lansing.

Lately, the city council has been more frequently involved in changes at the city-owned Board of Water and Light.

On Friday, A'Lynne Boles joined us to talk about those changes and other city issues.  Voters will decide whether to expand the board by three non-voting members.  That proposal could be approved in November.

Joe Linstroth/WKAR

There will been another delay in the release of the report reviewing the response of the Lansing Board of Water and Light to last December’s huge ice storm.

East Lansing Mayor proposes BWL board expansion

Feb 14, 2014
Flickr - michigancommunities

Talk of revamping the makeup of the Lansing Board of Water and Light Board of Commissioners has taken another step forward. East Lansing mayor Nathan Triplett has submitted an expansion plan to Lansing mayor Virg Bernero. It would, for the first time, include representation outside the Lansing city limits.

Local leaders call for wider BWL board representation

Jan 23, 2014
Credit Joe Linstroth/WKAR

Many people have been reminded in the past month that the Lansing Board of Water and Light provides electricity to more than just the capital city. Though it’s owned by the city, the BWL has electric customers in nine other municipalities and townships outside Lansing city limits. Those include East Lansing and Delta Township.

Toronto's ice storm woes sound familiar

Jan 13, 2014
Flickr - photolific

On December 22nd, a powerful ice storm knocked out power to tens of thousands of customers, some for more than a week. Many people without electricity struggled get basic information and to get through to the municipally-owned power company to report outages. Some even took to social media to pick up the slack on their own. We’re not talking about the Lansing-area and Board of Water and Light. We’re talking about Toronto, which was hit by the same ice storm that wreaked havoc on us three weeks ago.

Security expert vows prompt, independent review of BWL

Jan 10, 2014
http://www.cooley.edu/

A retired military officer and former homeland security official turned Cooley Law School law professor will oversee an independent review of the embattled Lansing Board of Water and Light.

Joe Linstroth/WKAR

Mid-Michigan has weathered two major winter storms in the last three weeks. It’s been widely reported that thousands of people who lost power following the December 21 ice storm found themselves with little or no reliable information about when or if their electricity was being restored. That prompted many citizens in the community to take it upon themselves to go looking for answers and to share what they found online.

Joe Linstroth/WKAR

The citizen board that oversees the embattled Lansing Board of Water and Light convened last night.  The body heard from both the public as well as numerous BWL employees and leadership about the utility’s response to last month’s overwhelming ice storm that knocked out electric power to tens of thousands in the Lansing area.

Carol Wood, BWL's Dennis Louney on outage

Jan 7, 2014
Joe Linstroth/WKAR

Lansing City Council Member Carol Wood and Lansing Board of Water and Light Board Member Dennis Louney talk with Current State about the upcoming special board meeting called as a follow-up to the December power outages in the Lansing Area. The full transcript of the Current State interview is below.

New co-generation power plant set to recharge Lansing

Jun 17, 2013
Kevin Lavery

The massive co-generation power plant rising above Lansing's REO Town neighborhood is nearly complete. The Lansing Board of Water and Light 's (BWL) new 46,000 square-foot facility has been under construction for more than two years. The power plant officially comes online July 1, and will replace four coal-fired steam units at the nearby Moores Park plant built in 1950s. The BWL says the new plant is much more environmentally friendly. Residents and business owners believe it will also bring economic gain to their neighborhood. 

Kevin Lavery / WKAR

In 2010, the Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL) established its Plug-in Electric Vehicle Community Project. With funding from the U.S. department of Energy, the BWL installed an array of electric vehicle charging stations across the Lansing area to promote this emerging technology.  Now, the utility is taking another step towards building an electric car infrastructure.  

The Lansing city council is having an intense squabble involving technology and transparency.  Two unresolved issues appear to be at the heart of the dispute.  

First, did a city employee erase information from the city-issued laptop of council person Kathie Dunbar?  

Second, should a full council session involving “computer usage”-- presumably related to the incident -- have been closed to the public and the media?  

Scott Pohl / WKAR

The Lansing Board of Water and Light is celebrating an early milestone in the construction of its new cogeneration plant in REO Town.