Lightning strike causes power outage across Lansing


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – From hundreds of traffic lights out, to vehicle backups, the city of Lansing and East Lansing was in a blackout today.

“The storm came through and there was a lot of lightning strikes and it took out about 30,000 of our customers,” said Lansing Board of Water & Light General Manager Dick Peffley.

Speaking of lightning, just before 9 a.m. a lightning bolt struck the Lansing Board of Water & Light’s Eckert plant causing thousands of outages across the city.

“We called the crews, they came in to assess the situation and it takes a little bit of time because when you have a lightning strike the crews have to drive the entire circuit that its down and make sure there is no physical wires that are down,” Peffley stated.

He says when outages this widespread happen, the first thing they do is scope out the outage map to figure out where the bulk of the outages are.

“Then we’ll send a crew out to patrol that circuit and like I said they physically drive that circuit and look for a down wire where the lightning probably hit it, they’ll make a repair and then they bring that circuit back on,” said Peffley.

Although BWL crews worked hard to get power back up and running, the question is why wasn’t there a backup system in place?

BWL officials say two reasons:

The Eckert supplies power to nearly 30,000 people and BWL officials are in the process of building four central substations.

According to BWL spokesperson Stephen Serkaian, those substations will replace the main Eckert plant which would lower the number of customers each substation will carry.

In turn, BWL officials say these new substations will lower the chances of an outage like the one today…from ever happening again.

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