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Lansing Board of Water & Light mulling rate hikes for water and electricity

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The average Lansing Board of Water & Light electric and water customer can expect to see their bills increase, if proposed rate hikes go through.

The utility board will decide next week whether to approve the changes. 

“I don’t imagine any customers are looking forward to rate increase,” admits J. Peter Lark, BWL’s General Manager, “but I think it’s essential.”

Part of the rate increase will pay for improvements to BWL’s infrastructure. Specifically, the improvements will retrofit BWL’s power grid so it can better withstand the weather.   

Last December, an ice storm knocked out power to 40% of BWL customers. Many had to wait more than a week to get their electricity restored.

But still at a public hearing last night, several people complained about their proposed increase to their bills.

Tammie Arend says the utility’s electric and water rates are already too high for poor people like her in Lansing.

“We have three light bulbs in our house.  We take a shower once a week to once a month … and we don’t do laundry. We wear dirty clothes so we can save water,” Arend told the BWL commissioners.    

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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