BWL Faults City For Some Communication Problems - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

BWL Faults City For Some Communication Problems

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The Lansing Board of Water and Light says city officials in Lansing need to do a better job of communicating with other cities, towns, and townships.

That's one of the findings of a internal report drafted by the BWL in response to criticism of the utility's response to a December ice storm that left some customers in the dark for more than a week during the holidays. The utility has been heavily criticized for its response to the storm and its communications efforts during it.

Indeed, the report says the storm was "the most catastrophic event to ever hit the Lansing Board of Water & Light's (BWL) electric service territory." At one point, 40% of the utility's customers were out of power and some 2,400 power lines went down.

In the wake of the storm, officials in Lansing set up and ran their Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to help manage the city's response to the storm.

The BWL, however - in a section called "Management of Storm Response" - says it saw no need to activate its own Command and Control Center because "it could communicate with and manage its personnel."

Still, the utility says, officials from BWL talked to the Lansing Emergency Operations Center three times a day. And in it's report, the utility says it thought the Lansing center was talking to other local Emergency Operations Centers in the area.

"Based on comments received by the BWL during its Community Forums, however, this may not have been the case," the report says. "If not, the greater Lansing community may benefit from a more coordinated regional EOC operation."

The utility says it will take a variety of steps to improve its own communication with local officials and the public. Among those steps: designating a liaison to deal with local officials to answer their questions and help spread that information to the public.

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