Regulators: Utility fell short with customers

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 30, 2014 at 1:40 pm •  Published: May 30, 2014
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Lansing Board of Water and Light "fell short" in its duties to customers following a December ice storm, state utility regulators said in a review released Friday that also makes 30 recommendations to improve service.

The Michigan Public Service Commission reviewed both internal and independent reports written after the Dec. 21-22 storm, which led to power outages for 40,000 of the utility's customers — some for up to 11 days. The company faced widespread public criticism for long telephone wait times and its overall communication efforts.

The commission, which doesn't regulate municipally owned utilities but accepted Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero's request for its assistance, agreed with findings and recommendations of the independent Community Review Team report released this month, which said the power company had inadequate emergency procedures in place.

The power company and its board "fell short in their duties to their customers to be prepared for a catastrophic or extreme weather event and had not incorporated training, emergency exercises or testing its emergency operations plan it its overall strategic planning for such an event," the commission's review says.

The public service commission's recommendations include creating a committee to track implementation and a transparent process for reporting progress. The review said such a committee is important for accountability, because the utility's own 54 actions "contain numerous aspiring phrases" such as "plan to," ''work to," and "will aggressively pursue."

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