BWL Developing Database For Customers With Medical Priorities - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

BWL Developing Database For Customers With Medical Priorities

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LANSING, MI (WLNS) - General Mike McDaniel, the leader of the Community Review Team says the Lansing Board of Water and Light can do more to help those most vulnerable.

That's a day after the team released their 75-page report after the December ice storm that left tens of thousands of customers in the dark.

6 News Nick Perreault sat down with the McDaniel who says the company must have a list the next time the lights go out.

"We were very lucky we didn't have any deaths or serious injuries as a result of the extended outage,” said McDaniel.

That’s fortunate because Mike McDaniel says BWL didn't have key information at the ready when the lights went out in December.

"The city emergency management got with tri-county office on aging for East Lansing and Lansing, and plotted where all the seniors where so that they should do health and safety checks,” said McDaniel.

That’s information McDaniel says BWL should've already had. Transcripts from a March hearing show the company had a list of those customers with medical concerns, but that dealt with non-payment, not an outage.

"We had at least two if not three specific instances where customers told us they had folks that had to have oxygen in the evening and other forms of equipment and had this issue and were very concerned.”

The utility says it's limited by privacy laws, but tells 6 News BWL is working to develop a volunteer participant database to allow customers who are seniors or have medical priority to sign up. That information would then be shared with government officials and social services in case of an outage.

"This just points out that Board Water and Light can't be acting in a vacuum, they have to be thinking about how all the resources of the regional community are used to protect their citizens.”

Well there isn't anything on the books about giving senior or those with medical needs priority. In case of an outage, McDaniel says having a list at the ready is part of best practice operations.

The Community Review Team is set to meet later this week to discuss their report in more detail.
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