BWL Creating Emergency Manager Position - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

BWL Creating Emergency Manager Position

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LANSING, MI (WLNS) - Help is on the way for the Lansing Board of Water and Light, the utility says.

They're creating an Emergency Manager position to take command when the power goes out. The announcement comes just days after a 75-page report detailed concerns about how the company handled the December power outages.

6 News Nick Perreault sat down with the mayor to talk about this new addition and if more changes should be on the way to the fix the utility in the future.

Highlighted throughout the 75 plus pages of the Community Review Team’s report is BWL’s lack of communication, specifically crisis communication.

"Let me tell you we have made tremendous strides in terms of communications with the BWL, it's just not the same BWL,” said Peter Lark, CEO/General Manager.

Those strides that General Manager Peter Lark told us Monday, include adding more tree trimming crews, updating their website and stress-testing their call center to 30,000 calls an hour.

Now the company is adding a new Emergency Manager position.

"I think that's a good step, we're going to be working with them as well as the region develop sort of a regional emergency response center,” said Mayor Virg Bernero, Mayor of Lansing.

An idea that Mayor Bernero and the report say could've helped communication and restoration in December.

"The emergency response we're working on that right now, the tree trimming is happening now so the most urgent matters, low hanging fruit is being done">

Mayor Bernero also encourages more direct reports to General Manager Peter Lark, but some ideas the Mayor says will take more convincing, like using special smart meters.

"Now it's a big advance, it allows you to get information back and forth from the residential customer to the board and back, but it's a very expensive step.”

DTE has 1.2 million customers using smart meters, Consumers has 227,000, while BWL has fewer than 100,000 total users.

Overall Mayor Bernero feels the report will be a roadmap to improvement, a map BWL and Peter Lark have started to follow.

"It's not just talk, he's acting he's doing, I believe that we will be more prepared for the next storm than we were for the last.”
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