Ice Storm Costs BWL $5 Million - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Ice Storm Costs BWL $5 Million

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The Lansing Board of Water and Light says it spent $5 million restoring power to customers after an ice storm swept through mid-Michigan in December.

In a report detailing their response to the storm, the utility describes it as "the most catastrophic event to ever hit" the area, knocking out power to about 40% of the BWL's customers, knocking down 2,400 power lines, forcing BWL to replace five miles of service lines in about 10 days. That's as much as the utility normally replaces in six months.

At least $2 million of the costs seem to have been spent on five companies who helped with restoration efforts.

According to paperwork turned over to a community team investigating BWL's response to the storm, those costs break down as follows: 

  • Sebewaing Light & Water - $22,223.61
  • Hydaker Wheatlake - $430,147.35
  • Kent Power - $849,215.17
  • Traverse City - $83,471.83
  • Asplundh - $625,234.87

Most of those costs come from regular and overtime pay for linemen, who spent a week or more working 16 to 17 hour days. Some of those days were also holidays, since the outage spanned the week that included Christmas and New Year's. Many linemen made $20,000 for about a week of work. An employee at one company made close to $40,000.

The costs also included the equipment those crews brought and used to help restore power.

According to a BWL spokesman, much of the money to pay those bills will come from the Board of Water and Light's cash reserves. Before the storm, the spokesman Steve Serkaian said the utility has $88 million in non-restricted operating funds. 

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