Opinions Strong At BWL Forum In East Lansing - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Opinions Strong At BWL Forum In East Lansing

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – About 100 people filled a room in the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing Wednesday night to give feedback on December's ice storm to the Lansing Board of Water and Light. It was the first of three community meetings the utility set up to hear from customers, and re-establish trust with the people it serves.

BWL CEO J. Peter Lark started the meeting with an apology that reiterated the company's dedication to finding out what went wrong and making sure no one has to suffer the way many did after last month's storm knocked out power to an unprecedented 40 percent of customers, leaving some in the cold and dark for nearly two weeks.

"We want to regain your trust in the BWL, and I pledge to you that we will listen, and we will do better," said Lark to meeting attendees. "Once again, we know we did not meet the needs of our customers, and for that, I sincerely apologize and assure you that we will do better in the future."

Lark's apology was met with sharp criticism by some who stood to offer their opinions. Some called for his resignation, and others expressed anger and disappointment in his decision to take a family trip to New York during the crisis.

East Lansing Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris said she felt the dialogue was key in moving forward, and it was important for Lark and other BWL officials to hear firsthand from residents affected by the storm. "It was a crisis," said Goddeeris. "This is a lesson to all of us in some way that we as a community, as a region, we have to have those systems in place where we can reach out and make sure everybody's safe."

Two more meetings will follow the one that took place Wednesday. Thursday's meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the Delta Township Administration Building, located at 7710 W. Saginaw Hwy., Room A in Lansing. Friday's meeting will take place in Lansing at the BWL REO Town depot, also at 7 p.m.

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with WLNS-TV. Like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter or email her at emorrow@wlns.com.

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