BWL Responds To Ice Storm Frustrations - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

BWL Responds To Ice Storm Frustrations

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - Around 3,000 Board of Water and Light customers are still without power as of Friday night, following an ice storm that came through last weekend.

That number is down from the original 40 percent that was originally knocked out. But many people have voiced concerns with the way BWL has handled the situation. 

"You either get voice mail or you get shifted around to this person," said Keenan Sanders, who has been without power for six days.

"We should've had somebody there that could have put something in perspective immediately and started communicating that," said Carol Wood, the Lansing City Council president.

"The communication could have been better, that in my mind could have been better, there is no question about that," said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

 

 

Residents started demanding answers, but Sandy Zerkle, the BWL chair, says staffing and getting crews to Lansing was not a problem. She says they had multiple local crews out and the utility company brought in additional help.

 

 

"They have a priority system which they operate on," said Zerkle. Under that system, Zerkle says trucks had to respond to hospitals and senior centers first, before entering neighborhoods, but admits the process wasn't perfect.

 

"Mistakes have probably been made in some of the communication stuff," said Zerkle.

 

 

 

BWL doesn't have a system similar to DTE and Consumers. Those utilities use outage maps to show you where power is out and where crews are working.

 

"We have not had this kind of catastrophe or major outage situation where it lasted more than 24 or 48 hours and so it wasn't in the plans," said Zerkle.

But the board chair says she's talked with General Manager Peter Lark about possibly changing their web system, which she thinks could help with customer service

"You'd call, it would go to voicemail. Well that's an issue, but a lot of that I think would be cleared up if people could go to the website," she said.

Board of Water and Light wants to remind people to be patient as the company works to get power to those last people in the dark, "the employees are doing everything they can."

In response to the aftermath of the storm, the Lansing City Council will hold a special response meeting on Monday.

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