Residents were furious when a large snowstorm knocked out power during the Christmas season of 2013. The Board of Water and Light, Lansing’s primary municipal power supplier, was slow to restore power. According to the BWL Twitter page, more than 40,000 people were without power for as long as 12 to 14 days.
Many citizens in Lansing spent the bright Christmas season in the dark. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero addressed the issue in his State of the City Address Jan. 30, 2014.
“The ice storm, which left thousands of people in the dark for far too long, was a painful experience for many of our citizens. Let me say plainly and unequivocally – the Lansing Board of Water and Light did not live up to our expectations or theirs,” Bernero said.
Bernero also talked about BWL’s shortcomings. “When the reviews are complete and recommendations implemented, our hometown power company will be ready for anything.”
Carol Woods, who was still president of Lansing City Council at the time the power went out, ordered a special council session where residents could air their concerns. She later proposed a resolution asking that “the Community Review Team (CRT) and/or sub-committee conduct any and all meetings in accordance with the State of Michigan Open Meetings Act,” so people would be informed about the investigation into how BWL handled the crisis.
Recently, the voting on the resolution was completed, with some bad results for Woods and the community.
“The resolution did not pass City Council,” said Woods. “The vote was three yes votes to five no votes. Two council members said they believe there are times when it is easier to have frank discussions about issues behind closed doors. The council members believed the CRT were honorable people and would do what was right.”
Melissa Quon-Huber, President of the Averill Woods Neighborhood Association, and Woods have collaborated to help bring attention to another rough aspect of the Averill Woods area: the roads.
Quon-Huber often speaks out to the citizens of Averill on the community Facebook page to keep them updated on the location of snow plows in the area.
“The city tries to plow areas that have recycling and garbage pickup the next day,” Quon-Huber said. “Usually they work fast and can make their way around to Averill Woods within the day.”
Huber points to a graph outlining all the areas the crew needs to plow. Averill Woods is located in sector 17.