This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The last War. The storm that was. Lansing Michigan 2013 and how it came to effect The City of Bloomfield Hills. a year later

As the saying goes, the military.always prepares to fight the last war. The storm in in Lansing in December of 2013 was in regards to the Michigan Public Service Commission and the  Utility companies they regulate the last  war. The Lansing storm was a an ice storm and as storms go ice storms are particularly  pernicious. Power was out in the Capitol City from four to ten days in some areas.

The  Michigan Public Safety Commission studied that storm and  issued orders on December 4th 2014 following  a year long investigation. 

The  MPSC found that a large part of the storm damage was caused by falling limbs and trees — especially dead, brittle trees decimated by the invasive emerald ash borer.

  When the tree cutting began on Kensington last December DTE spokesperson was quoted in the Eagle edition of  December 19th  as " saying they were responding to complaints about service reliability from both customers and local officials as well as the Michigan  Public Service Commission who as a result of the ice storm last winter (2013) directed us to be a lot more aggressive with  tree trimming. While we make every effort to  work with our customers right now we are no longer no asking permission. It is totally different approach to laying clearance but it is something that is needed to provide our customers with reliable electric service."  

Point of fact The MPSC  did not order DTE to be a lot more aggressive with Tree trimming. in the December 2014 Ruling.  Rather It always  expects the Utilities to be aggressive in their tree trimming as seen  in the use  the funds allocated for that purpose.  Not asking for permission  was new wrinkle that as of this writing (March 8th 2015) has been rescinded in select communities.

Lansing Michigan in 2013 was served by  municipal utility company  governed by the Lansing Board of water and light or BWL. While the BWL is not governed or regulated by the Michigan  Public Safety Commissioner, the Mayor of Lansing  in December 2013, Virg Bernero   invited  John D. Quackenbush, the Chairman of the MPSC to serve as an advisory role in evaluating the Lansing storm in terms of readiness,and causes and corrections.
The below report, is that evaluation published in May of 2014  is 33 pages long. Parts of it are technical and will not be understood  by laymen. Still for  one seeking answers there in a wealth of information that is interesting. Like causation and culprit . Falling trees, particularly the Ash Bor are cited. As is the need to maintain proper tree maintenance by the utility companies. Burying the wires,  a mantra of City of Bloomfield Hills Officials is rejected  with  a figure of a million dollars a mile or forget about it.

Also of note are  the  hazardous trees which exist outside the utilities  right of way and came  tumbling down in the ice  storm of 2013.

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