PSC Report: Critical Of BWL Ice Storm Performance - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

PSC Report: Critical Of BWL Ice Storm Performance

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(WLNS) - The Michigan Public Service Commission is recommending a long list of changes and supporting the findings of the Community Review Team after investigating BWL's performace during December's ice storms.

The report, requested by Mayor Virg Bernero, acknowledged that the ice storm may have been unprecedented, severe weather events are not uncommon in Michigan.

The PSC agreed with the overall findings and recommendations made by the Community Review Team.

In it's report the PSC said BWL management and the Board fell short of their duties to customers to be prepared for a catastrophic or extreme weather event and had not implemented training or procedures for such an emergency event.

The mayor thanked the commission for their work on the 30-plus page report and feels the utility has already made recommendations to become a stronger utility for their customers.

He also feels if they follow these new recommendations they'll be even stronger.

It's the third report criticizing the Lansing Board of Water and Light's handling, from preparation to action and communication in December, during the largest ice storm in the state in over a decade.

"There's a lot of scrutiny on the board on what it did and what it should do in the future.”

Those are suggestions that mayor Bernero encourages, such as better training for employees from administrative communication to call centers’ operations during an extended outage.

"In many respects this report is an affirmation, a re-affirmation that the work that's been done, internally and by the CRT was on target,” said Virg Bernero, Mayor of Lansing.

Part of the report calls on Mayor Bernero to appoint board members with more expertise related to roles of BWL.

As it would turn out both Margaret Bossenbery David prices positions are up for renewal as of July 1. So we asked the mayor what's the likelihood they keep those seats.

“What do you think about 50-50, 60-40?”

“I'm not prepared to make a decision but I'm evaluating their performance, the recommendations, the needs of the board and all those things will be factored in,” said Mayor Bernero.

Meanwhile General Manager Peter Lark issued this statement on the service commission's findings:

“We are committed to thoroughly review and consider each and every one of the MPSC recommendations and have already begun implementing many of the improvements recommended by the MPSC.”

After 30 new recommendations tackling concerns of the budget, communication and potential new commissioners, Mayor Bernero still stands behind Peter Lark as General Manager of the utility.

The report also included thirty recommendations.

Some of those include:
  • Develop a communication plan as part of an overall emergency plan
  • Maintain a single customer phone number for all customer inquiries
  • Train and educate BWL staff so that experience and knowledgeablestaff can fill back-up roles in the event of an outage or energy emergency
The Michigan Public Service Commission does not regulate or control municipally owned electric utilities like the BWL.  The PSC is authorized to provide advice when requested.

To read today's entire PSC report online: 
PSC Review of BWL Ice Storm Performance
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