UPDATE: Equipment failure causes heat outage

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LANSING, MI. (WILX) -- The BWL says that they have completed making necessary repairs to the REO Cogeneration Plant following the equipment failure that caused multiple customers in downtown to have a cold day in Lansing.

Several state office buildings, City of Lansing buildings and buildings on the campus of Lansing Community College are closed at this time due to what officials say is a heating outage.

Several state office customers, City of Lansing customers, customers on the campus of Lansing Community College, and some private businesses have been closed all day due to what officials say is a heating outage.

They say there were 220 customers affected by the power outage total.

Stewart Powell owns Linn and Owen Jewelers in downtown Lansing. He says when he drove into work Wednesday morning there was a mass exodus.

"Normally when you're trying to get into downtown it's fighting the battle trying to get in, but this morning it was everybody else was trying to get out," said Powell.

The BWL told NEWS 10 that heater equipment failed, causing customers to lose steam heat, and they've never had an outage like this before.

"There was a heater that heats equipment in the plant that failed and that caused the plant to shut down on a safety protocol," said BWL General Manager Dick Peffley. "You are going to have issues, but to have an entire plant shut down, this is very very rare."

They say it started at 1 a.m. and repairs were completed around 10 a.m. Peffley said it will take a while for the buildings to heat back up.

Peffley said heat should be on in all of the buildings soon.

He added that they are apologizing to customers.

In a release sent out early on Feb. 12, BWL officials said the city-owned utility experienced the outage at its REO Cogeneration Plant.

The plant is located at 1201 S. Washington Ave. in Lansing’s REO Town neighborhood and is the utility’s first natural gas-fired plant. It opened in 2013, and generates up to 300,000 pounds of steam per hour and 100 megawatts of electricity, according to BWL’s website.

Mayor Andy Schor declared a “non-state of emergency closure” for City Hall, 54-A District court and offices in nearby parking ramps due to the outage, according to the city’s website.

Lansing Community College’s downtown campus closed at 10 a.m. “due to a loss of heat-related to an issue with the Lansing Board of Water & Light’s steam plan, according to a news release. The news release said classes at all other campuses will remain in session today.

Peffly said that steam heat is reliable and economical and that an outage like this is rare.

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