BWL Working On Ice Storm Recommendations

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The Board of Water and Light's been making improvements since its botched response to the December ice storm. On Thursday the utility gave Lansing City Council an update about how far it has come.

"If we have another outage how are we going to get power back more quickly?" said BWL General Manager Peter Lark.

It's a question that Lark says has been guiding BWL, helping the utility make big changes since the storm.

"This organization is more prepared we are ready for the next catastrophic weather event," said Chairman of the Board of Commissioners David Price.

BWL says it's already made half of the 168 recommendations from a Community Review Team and the state Public Service Commission.

"We have gone well beyond the recommendations and we will continue to do that to assure our customers that they are getting the best bang for their utility buck," Price said.

That starts with expanding tree trimming services. City Council says some customers are concerned about cutting practices. The utility says it follows national standards, that they've posted on their website.

"It's the reliability of the system that needs to be maintained," Price added.

On an average day the utility says it has between 15 to 18 crews out trimming trees. That's three times as many than it had before the December storm.

"Areas that present the most problems we are trying to get them done first," said Lark, explaining the utility's strategy for targeting neighborhoods.

One of the largest issues after the ice storm was keeping the public aware of outages and repair times. An online outage map released last month shows customers areas affected in an outage. Now BWL says a moblie app will make that even easier.

"It will allow customers to report an outage, to look at the outage map, to see who else is out, to get restoration times," Lark said.

Just another way to keep customers in the know, something City Council President A'Lynne Boles is happy to see.

"We've got a concerted effort going here forward with transparency communication and with rebuilding trust," said Boles who represents the third ward.

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