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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.