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ATC explains power line project

October 11, 2012
The Daily News


Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN - Additional transmission lines are needed to improve electricity and prevent power outages to northeastern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula.

Article Photos

Lisa M. Hoffmann/The Daily News Photo
Jackie Olson of ATC explains a missing link of a transmission line near Green Bay. The missing link is one reason why additional tranmission lines are needed to supply more power to northern Wisconsin and the U.P.

Several American Transmission Co. officials provided answers to residents' questions during an open house at Pine Mountain Resort on Wednesday. The open house was held to gather feedback from area residents regarding proposed transmission lines in northeastern Wisconsin and the U.P.

Jackie Olson of ATC Corporate Communications said the lines address liability needs in the area.

"From Green Bay north, there is a lot of demand on the system 24/7," she said.

Olson said for ATC to do maintenance on the lines is difficult due to the demand on the current transmission line.

"The area is vulnerable to power outages, with the lack of infrastructure," Olson said. "In addition, there is some uncertainty with the coal-fired power plants. If we don't have generators, we need transmission to bring electric to the area."

Olson added that if the projects are approved and transmission lines are installed on private property, ATC will work with affected landowners and negotiate easements.

"The landowner will retain ownership of the land, but the easement allows us to build, operate and maintain the facilities," she said.

One of the three lines proposed is along U.S. 2 in Norway.

Another line through the area skirts the Menominee River area of East Kingsford near Schneider Metal, and Hydraulic Falls Road. This could affect some residential properties along Menominee and Hoadley Streets.

Olson said when the proposed corridors of 3,000-feet are narrowed down to 100 to 150 feet of right-of-way, the Public Service Commission will then choose one of two routes.

"We are hoping to identify the line by spring of 2013 and an open house will be held in spring of 2013," Olson said.

Olson said the timetable is to file a Public Service Commission application in late 2013 in Michigan, and January 2014 in Wisconsin.

Preliminary cost for the revised project components are estimated to be between $286 million and $430 million for the 345-kV facilities, and $149 million and $222 million for the 138-kV facilities.

Olson said ATC's customers include UPPCO, WeEnergies and Wisconsin Public Service Corp. Residential and commercial users of electricity pay those companies who pay ATC for their service.

Types of transmission lines that could possibly be built include weather steel, H-frame, lattice steel, and galvanized steel.

Weather steel is the type of transmission line along U.S. Highway 141 in Crivitz. ATC officials said this type of line requires less maintenance and has less exposure to the elements.

The type of line that is built depends on the final route and geography. That has not been determined at this time.

The amount of mailings sent out for all the ATC open houses this fall has been narrowed to 13,000. There were 34,000 mailings last year, Olson said.

ATC owns, operates, builds and maintains the high-voltage electric transmission system serving portions of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois.

Formed in 2001 as the nation's first multi-state transmission-only utility, ATC has invested $2.7 billion to improve the adequacy and reliability of its infrastructure. ATC now is a $3.1 billion company with 9,440 miles of transmission lines and 519 substations.

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Lisa M. Hoffmann's e-mail address is



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