If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(MLive.com)   After taking a vacation in the middle of an eleven day power outage, head of a local utility refuses to resign and is thinking about adding a rate increase   (mlive.com) divider line 79
    More: Dumbass, power outages, refuses  
•       •       •

8439 clicks; posted to Main » on 03 Jan 2014 at 6:09 AM (15 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



79 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all
 
2014-01-03 12:22:41 AM
Shocking behaviour
 
2014-01-03 02:52:14 AM

ktybear: Shocking behaviour


Pun using amped and capacitance goes here
 
2014-01-03 03:00:41 AM
Someone's angling for that BP CEO gig!
 
2014-01-03 03:49:09 AM
He conducted himself ampallingly
 
2014-01-03 04:20:30 AM
Going to be with his family on Christmas Eve? Outage or not, I'm ok with that. The guy headed back on Christmas morning. Rate increases however, always suck.
 
2014-01-03 06:15:20 AM
"Pray I do not raise it further"
 
2014-01-03 06:22:45 AM
Vacations do not pay for themselves.
 
2014-01-03 06:23:42 AM
Don't be stuck alone...with your rate increase

sfcitizen.com
 
2014-01-03 06:34:44 AM
I like, you froze your ass off in the dark for at least 5 days, here's a $25.00 credit! how farkin'  sweet is that deal?
 
2014-01-03 06:49:36 AM
I am fortunate to have consumers energy for my power.  It did take 6 days to get us back to full power.  The morning of the 22nd I watched as a tree in my back yard near the lines to my house started to smoke and burn.  It took out one phase to my house.

Consumers had a much larger service area, and got crews in from out of state.  The BWL stated that if they did that someone from BWL has to be with that crew from out of state.  Yeah... ok.  So your own bureaucracy and policy prevented you from getting help.  They claim that their power is a bit different.

Well let me ask this then, if it is that much different, then why did you go down during the 2003 power outage with the rest of the country?

Yesterday I also spoke to my friend, his dad is retired from the BWL.  He said that his dad told him the number of line workers they have is about 15.  So 15 people for the 40,000 outages.

The biggest problem I have with the board is the fact they left a live wire (it was roped off with yellow tape) laying across the sidewalk at Lake Lansing and Coolidge road for 11 days.  Way to go guys!
 
2014-01-03 06:49:42 AM
As someone who went 6 days without power during this, I think a key thing to emphasize about the experience was the lack of communication.

The power company could not handle the call volume for reporting, and it took them days to even issue a statement about the situation on their homepage despite the loss of 40% of their customers and hundreds of lines down.  For the first four days after the incident there was little to no news about what was going on in terms of individual repair times, and I seem to recall only about 10 crews working on restoring the customer base.  What news there was kept changing: first the repair times were estimated for Christmas, then the following weekend, and then the following week for some customers.  Further, the utility did a poor job explaining what some customers needed to repair before the utility could restore power to their house.  In the end, about a week into the incident, the utility decided that it might be a good idea to open centers so people could physically talk to representatives about their outage because their phone system was so bad.

It also didn't help that the mayor threatened to "evacuate" the building holding one of the first press conferences a week after the incident because people were being too vocal about going a week without power.
 
2014-01-03 06:54:37 AM

AcademGreen: As someone who went 6 days without power during this, I think a key thing to emphasize about the experience was the lack of communication.

The power company could not handle the call volume for reporting, and it took them days to even issue a statement about the situation on their homepage despite the loss of 40% of their customers and hundreds of lines down.  For the first four days after the incident there was little to no news about what was going on in terms of individual repair times, and I seem to recall only about 10 crews working on restoring the customer base.  What news there was kept changing: first the repair times were estimated for Christmas, then the following weekend, and then the following week for some customers.  Further, the utility did a poor job explaining what some customers needed to repair before the utility could restore power to their house.  In the end, about a week into the incident, the utility decided that it might be a good idea to open centers so people could physically talk to representatives about their outage because their phone system was so bad.

It also didn't help that the mayor threatened to "evacuate" the building holding one of the first press conferences a week after the incident because people were being too vocal about going a week without power.


When we went a week without power (Derecho of 2013) the Pepco in Maryland blew chunks and regularly energized down lines (we still have holes burnt into the asphalt). Where-as Rappahannock Electric Cooperative in VA (write that 5 times fast on a check!) would post job lists on their facebook page so you knew where they were working and even responded to some comments.
 
2014-01-03 06:55:58 AM

LaChanz: Going to be with his family on Christmas Eve? Outage or not, I'm ok with that.


Watt are you talking about? I'm incandescent!
 
2014-01-03 06:59:31 AM
I don't see a huge deal about the vacation thing (the rate increase is another matter).  If he had it planned ahead of time, had everything already paid for, and was reachable by phone in case his input was required, then it's not really that important where he is, physically.  It's not as if he, personally, was going to perform all the repairs.  Hell, he probably doesn't know even know  how to restore power.

The rate increase, on the other hand, would frustrate me.
 
2014-01-03 07:05:16 AM
Does anyone actually think a corporate or public organization head actually does anything useful at all ever, let alone have any non-counterproductive role on the ground in an emergency?
 
2014-01-03 07:05:34 AM
matamala.files.wordpress.com
 
2014-01-03 07:09:02 AM

Skail: I don't see a huge deal about the vacation thing (the rate increase is another matter).  If he had it planned ahead of time, had everything already paid for, and was reachable by phone in case his input was required, then it's not really that important where he is, physically.  It's not as if he, personally, was going to perform all the repairs.  Hell, he probably doesn't know even know  how to restore power.


The utility mismanaged the heck out of a crisis, and the head was no where to be found (why stay around? there's no power! lol!).

Sort of a "Rome burns, Nero fiddles" thing.
 
2014-01-03 07:10:27 AM
Oh no he was gone for 48hrs!
I have some hews for you outraged people. People that high up in a company have little to do with day-to-day operations. They pretend to be interested in daily updates and only get involved if they absolutely have too. Even then their involvement usually consists of them telling someone else to fix it. As long as the linemen and logistics people were working that's all that really matters. This guy is nothing more than a politician.
 
2014-01-03 07:11:45 AM
Perception is reality. If there was a single lineman working on Christmas during an emergency -- especially if there were linemen dispatched from outside the area to help -- then as the big boss you should be working too, even if that "work" would be nothing more than issuing a statement and then hassling IT all day long because your google searches for "Shaved Bulgarian Twink Crotchless Reddy Kilowatt Outfit Erotic Foot" keep returning the same old images you've already "Tripped the Breaker" too time and time again.
 
2014-01-03 07:16:18 AM
He also said he doesn't want any customers leaving the utility. Lark said BWL has historically been one of the most reliable providers in the area and has lower rates.

Wait, what?  You can leave a utility?
 
2014-01-03 07:17:47 AM

skuttduck: I am fortunate to have consumers energy for my power.  It did take 6 days to get us back to full power.  The morning of the 22nd I watched as a tree in my back yard near the lines to my house started to smoke and burn.  It took out one phase to my house.

Consumers had a much larger service area, and got crews in from out of state.  The BWL stated that if they did that someone from BWL has to be with that crew from out of state.  Yeah... ok.  So your own bureaucracy and policy prevented you from getting help.  They claim that their power is a bit different.

Well let me ask this then, if it is that much different, then why did you go down during the 2003 power outage with the rest of the country?

Yesterday I also spoke to my friend, his dad is retired from the BWL.  He said that his dad told him the number of line workers they have is about 15.  So 15 people for the 40,000 outages.

The biggest problem I have with the board is the fact they left a live wire (it was roped off with yellow tape) laying across the sidewalk at Lake Lansing and Coolidge road for 11 days.  Way to go guys!


"Have no power" + "live wire on the ground" == "have free power"
 
2014-01-03 07:21:18 AM

mekkab: The utility mismanaged the heck out of a crisis, and the head was no where to be found (why stay around? there's no power! lol!).

Sort of a "Rome burns, Nero fiddles" thing.


I suppose, from a PR standpoint, it would have been better to stay.  But from a pragmatic standpoint, what was he actually going to do that would be useful by staying?  So, sure, give him a PR noogie, so long as no one pretends that he was required to be present more than phone/computer could provide.
 
2014-01-03 07:21:34 AM

Prof. Frink: "Have no power" + "live wire on the ground" == "have free power"


But you might be shocked at how much you get charged.
 
2014-01-03 07:24:16 AM

abhorrent1: Oh no he was gone for 48hrs!
I have some hews for you outraged people. People that high up in a company have little to do with day-to-day operations. They pretend to be interested in daily updates and only get involved if they absolutely have too. Even then their involvement usually consists of them telling someone else to fix it. As long as the linemen and logistics people were working that's all that really matters. This guy is nothing more than a politician.


And that's why it's crucial that CEOs must always be paid tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars salary, along with a guaranteed multi-million dollar severance package when they inevitably pilot the company straight into the ground. Otherwise, how would companies attract all that stellar talent?
 
2014-01-03 07:26:37 AM

Skail: mekkab: The utility mismanaged the heck out of a crisis, and the head was no where to be found (why stay around? there's no power! lol!).

Sort of a "Rome burns, Nero fiddles" thing.

I suppose, from a PR standpoint, it would have been better to stay.  But from a pragmatic standpoint, what was he actually going to do that would be useful by staying?  So, sure, give him a PR noogie, so long as no one pretends that he was required to be present more than phone/computer could provide.


Face it, plugging his phone charger into the wall outlet is the extent of his electrical capability, so his absence was a non-issue from the perspective of getting the power back up.  If he wanted to make a great PR move, he could have let a few families without power use his house while he was out of town, assuming he had power.  And the heads of utility companies always have power first, whether they're home or not.  Just like the road that the head of the road commission lives on is always plowed first.
 
2014-01-03 07:38:01 AM
It looks like quite a number of posters lived through what happened here in Michigan but those of you defending this guy don't know the whole story.  This guy has been making bad statement after bad statement through the entire ordeal such as the following, (not necessarily direct quotes).

"Instead of providing estimates of when power is going to be restored I'd rather not give any estimate and just under promise and over perform."  11+ days

"The problem with using outside crews is that we have our own 3 man teams that would need to be broken up to direct the outside help which would make overall recovery less efficient." Break up 10- 3 man teams putting one of your people as the lead with 2 outside helpers and you have 30- 3 man teams or 90.  Thats basic math.

"Nobody could handle the response better than what we've been doing."  Consumers Energy which had a much larger area to cover and a much larger customer base was done restoring power to everyone by the weekend after Christmas where the BWL was saying that less than 1% would still be without power and that's pretty good.  Meanwhile BWL's update was 2 press releases a day where Consumers purchased radio time to run the same ads that they brought in outside help, stated that the work was complete, and even had an online outage map that you could click on to see the outage area as well as the expected time of restoration.  A customer in East Lansing ended up creating a Google Map for BWL customers to post their outages to because their phone system went down and the crews were driving the streets looking for downed wires since they couldn't be reported.

As a customer and resident I'm supporting this guy getting fired.  Aside from a tornado this is the closes thing that our area will experience to a hurricane, earthquake or other major disaster and the guy in charge managed it poorly.  Sadly he seems to have the right connections to keep his job so they're probably going to fire some poor sap like the communications or PR manager to make it look like they did something but by keeping the idiot in charge there nothing will really change.

They were already planning on proposing a rate hike at their end of January meeting too, which at this point I'm going to attend and voice my disapproval.  They've lost the trust of the public (their customers).  If they want to raise rates I want them to fire this Lark guy, and publicly develop and present a disaster plan to be followed if something like this happens again.

I don't quite get why Lansing even has the Board of Water and Light anyway.  This debacle has shown that being a non-profit that somehow gets local government funding, sponsoring countless community events and 5K's seems to be the organization's priority not providing utility services to the community.  Why doesn't the city just sell the BWL to Consumers or another interested utility company?  They can no longer say the local control provides cheaper rates or better service.

Rant over for now but for going 6 days without power I can easily be set off on this topic.
 
2014-01-03 07:53:23 AM

beerdini: It looks like quite a number of posters lived through what happened here in Michigan but those of you defending this guy don't know the whole story.  This guy has been making bad statement after bad statement through the entire ordeal such as the following, (not necessarily direct quotes).

"Instead of providing estimates of when power is going to be restored I'd rather not give any estimate and just under promise and over perform."  11+ days



Ugh.  I remember that quote because I thought it an asinine way to handle the situation.

BTW, there was talk about exploring the sale of BWL last year, which is estimated to be worth about $1Bn.
 
2014-01-03 07:58:41 AM
He shouldn't even have apologized for leaving. All management should just make sure the appropriate people are handling things, then back the hell off during a crisis. I'm not saying things were handled properly here at the ground level or communication-wise, but people really should just be told to STFU when whining about "appearances" when all they want is to spread around a bit of misery.
 
2014-01-03 08:06:39 AM
What's the big deal? It's not like he would have been out there climbing poles.
 
2014-01-03 08:06:54 AM

mekkab: When we went a week without power (Derecho of 2013) the Pepco in Maryland blew chunks and regularly energized down lines (we still have holes burnt into the asphalt). Where-as Rappahannock Electric Cooperative in VA (write that 5 times fast on a check!) would post job lists on their facebook page so you knew where they were working and even responded to some comments.


In fairness, Pepco did well with Hurricane Sandy a few months later.

/1st time for everything
 
2014-01-03 08:13:46 AM

DrPainMD: What's the big deal? It's not like he would have been out there climbing poles.


Then he should have been answering phones. Or is that beneath his pay grade as well?
 
2014-01-03 08:14:38 AM
Management's job is to make very sure that there are plans in place to deal with emergencies. He shouldn't really be needed for the day to day running of the company, because he should have had plans in place that kick into effect in a case like this. He, and the rest of upper management, failed to do this. Therefore, he should be fired for gross incompetence.

This really is management 101 stuff, here.
 
2014-01-03 08:18:53 AM
What's the big deal? It's not like he would have been out there climbing poles.

Then he should have been answering phones. Or is that beneath his pay grade as well?



Yes, it is. grow up
 
2014-01-03 08:19:09 AM

1. Put snakes on plane: He shouldn't even have apologized for leaving. All management should just make sure the appropriate people are handling things, then back the hell off during a crisis. I'm not saying things were handled properly here at the ground level or communication-wise, but people really should just be told to STFU when whining about "appearances" when all they want is to spread around a bit of misery.


THIS. People flip out over an official being out of town during even a minor crisis, regardless of the reason. A top exec's job is to hire good people for the next lower level of management, and see that resources and procedures are set up ahead of time. If that's done, it shouldn't require them to be on the scene or managing the details. If it's not done, that's what they should be condemned for, regardless of where they are.

It's not like this was a caribbean cruise. He was gone for 2 days to spend Xmas Eve with his family! Give the guy a freakin' break.
 
2014-01-03 08:29:44 AM

Pelvic Splanchnic Ganglion: He also said he doesn't want any customers leaving the utility. Lark said BWL has historically been one of the most reliable providers in the area and has lower rates.

Wait, what?  You can leave a utility?


Sure. There is no law forcing you to have power or water. Just stop paying your bill for a bit and they'll even help you leave them. Of course your TV will stop giving you shows and your toilet will stop giving you water...

CSB:
Brother got a little behind on his gas payments, so they turned off his gas and told him they would happily turn it back on. For a $600 deposit. Plus the balance. He said "fark that noise' when to the connection point on his house, cut the lock, and turned it back on. They came back out, turned it off and put a much bigger lock on it. So he cut off the latch and turned it back on. Gas company complains and he tells them "The junction is connected to my house, so I can do whatever I want to it. What now, biatches?" Gas company says "I'll tell you what now. We send a crew out to your house, dig up your yard, pull up our pipe to the street, and if you ever want gas again, you'll be paying us $10,000 to run a new pipe. That's what now." Brother thinks on this for a second and replies "So I guess I'll be sending you a check out tommarow, huh?"
 
2014-01-03 08:31:43 AM
"Now that you have experienced the desperation and inconvenience of being without power for eleven days, I'm sure you will all agree that you absolutely need us to sell you that power.

With that in mind, I want to let you all know how much I enjoyed my holiday away from the stench of you pathetic losers. And that from now on you'll be paying more. And that each day a random customer will be ordered to come to my mansion and personally lick my taint clean.

If you don't like it then it's permanent blackout time for you."
 
2014-01-03 08:33:14 AM

gerbilpox: mekkab: When we went a week without power (Derecho of 2013) the Pepco in Maryland blew chunks and regularly energized down lines (we still have holes burnt into the asphalt). Where-as Rappahannock Electric Cooperative in VA (write that 5 times fast on a check!) would post job lists on their facebook page so you knew where they were working and even responded to some comments.

In fairness, Pepco did well with Hurricane Sandy a few months later.

/1st time for everything


The main reason they did 'well' was that their service area was only grazed by the outer edges of the
storm.  That, and the cumulative damage they suffered because of their lack of infrastructure maintenance
over the past 2 years that they were forced to repair meant their network was in better repair than it
should have been given their complete neglect of their customers while hiking their rates on a regular
basis.

Between 2010 and 2012, I had my power go off several times for no readily apparent reason on clear,
not overly warm summer days, and during the 'derrecho' storm in 2011 it took them 5 days to get to my
street to fix power lines that ripped out because they had flat out refused to trim some trees I'd reported
to them, claiming it was either Verizon's or Comcast's responsibility.  Basically:  everything that could have
been blown down easily had been blown down before Sandy.

They got their asses handed to them and they have been on their best behavior.  That is no reason to
give them any credit for actually being responsible.

/Pepco sucks.
 
2014-01-03 08:43:10 AM

doubled99: What's the big deal? It's not like he would have been out there climbing poles.

Then he should have been answering phones. Or is that beneath his pay grade as well?


Yes, it is. grow up


PR is definitely not below his pay grade and he appears to be completely awful at that. Grow up, indeed.
 
2014-01-03 08:45:58 AM

Prof. Frink: Does anyone actually think a corporate or public organization head actually does anything useful at all ever, let alone have any non-counterproductive role on the ground in an emergency?


Do you actually believe this?  Interesting
 
2014-01-03 08:47:06 AM

cameroncrazy1984: doubled99: What's the big deal? It's not like he would have been out there climbing poles.

Then he should have been answering phones. Or is that beneath his pay grade as well?


Yes, it is. grow up

PR is definitely not below his pay grade and he appears to be completely awful at that. Grow up, indeed.


I know that at my local EMC here in Georgia, the CEO in fact all officers will man the phones during a mass outage. They are the the 3rd largest co-op in the country.
 
2014-01-03 08:50:35 AM

MythDragon: CSB:
Brother got a little behind on his gas payments, so they turned off his gas and told him they would happily turn it back on. For a $600 deposit. Plus the balance. He said "fark that noise' when to the connection point on his house, cut the lock, and turned it back on. They came back out, turned it off and put a much bigger lock on it. So he cut off the latch and turned it back on. Gas company complains and he tells them "The junction is connected to my house, so I can do whatever I want to it. What now, biatches?" Gas company says "I'll tell you what now. We send a crew out to your house, dig up your yard, pull up our pipe to the street, and if you ever want gas again, you'll be paying us $10,000 to run a new pipe. That's what now." Brother thinks on this for a second and replies "So I guess I'll be sending you a check out tommarow, huh?"


I admire your brother's gumption and spirit, if not necessarily his ability to think ahead. But he did get free gas for a while!

beerdini: Why doesn't the city just sell the BWL to Consumers or another interested utility company? They can no longer say the local control provides cheaper rates or better service.


There's a nearly unfathomable amount of easy money in utility monopolies. They're bought out or broken up from time to time, but willingly giving up that cushy life isn't going to happen.
 
2014-01-03 08:51:23 AM
Why should he resign?  People have the attention span of a gnat.  All he has to do is lie low for a week or two and nobody will remember anything, and his career can continue uninterrupted.

/ and, realistically, it's not like the head of the utility is an administrator -- not a lineman who would have been out fixing the problem himself, once it was determined what work had to be done
 
2014-01-03 08:54:39 AM

Prof. Frink: Does anyone actually think a corporate or public organization head actually does anything useful at all ever, let alone have any non-counterproductive role on the ground in an emergency?


Don't bring anything here that doesn't generate outrage. You're making too much sense.
 
2014-01-03 08:56:27 AM
The making of a new style Detroit of the 21st century?
 
2014-01-03 09:03:14 AM

1. Put snakes on plane: He shouldn't even have apologized for leaving. All management should just make sure the appropriate people are handling things, then back the hell off during a crisis. I'm not saying things were handled properly here at the ground level or communication-wise, but people really should just be told to STFU when whining about "appearances" when all they want is to spread around a bit of misery.


So if the best thing he can do WRT his job is absolutely nothing, why are they paying him so much then?
 
2014-01-03 09:12:47 AM

DjangoStonereaver: gerbilpox: In fairness, Pepco did well with Hurricane Sandy a few months later.

/1st time for everything

The main reason they did 'well' was that their service area was only grazed by the outer edges of the
storm.  That, and the cumulative damage they suffered because of their lack of infrastructure maintenance over the past 2 years that they were forced to repair meant their network was in better repair than it should have been given their complete neglect of their customers while hiking their rates on a regular basis.

Between 2010 and 2012, I had my power go off several times for no readily apparent reason on clear,
not overly warm summer days,


Yeah, that happened to me too. And on my street, the lines are buried.

/Pepco sucks.

I was amused to see they are listed on Yelp. One star.
 
2014-01-03 09:13:24 AM

Prof. Frink: Does anyone actually think a corporate or public organization head actually does anything useful at all ever, let alone have any non-counterproductive role on the ground in an emergency?


No, but he opened himself up to criticism by asking for his company to get more money so he could do nothing.  Had he not wanted a rate increase, nobody would have said anything about his vacation. As it stands now, the answer is "if your company needs more money, perhaps it could start by cutting your salary"

/short answer, if you screw the pooch, don't ask for more money
 
2014-01-03 09:14:30 AM
Utilities are either government-owned or are government-authorized monopolies. This guy's behavior should only be expected..
 
2014-01-03 09:22:21 AM

Prof. Frink: Does anyone actually think a corporate or public organization head actually does anything useful at all ever, let alone have any non-counterproductive role on the ground in an emergency?


Yes, but he's not a ground-level engineer.  Executives are important; I'm a ground-level engineer and still screaming that we need more.  Hell, some of our lower managers are screaming for other execs that we don't have but desperately need.
 
2014-01-03 09:22:52 AM
First he says:
"...but I will say we have handled the storm as well as could possibly be handled from our point of view"

Then there's this:
"Lark said he's working to improve BWL's outage management system, which wasn't working correctly."

Seems like he's talking out of both sides of his mouth...
 
Displayed 50 of 79 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report