UNDATED (WSAU) The American Transmission Company says it plans to spend $4.4-billion on new-and-improved power lines over the next 10 years. That’s the highest amount since A-T-C started issuing its annual 10-year plans each fall.
One of the largest projects is planned for far northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan – where 80,000 customers lost power due to a major blackout caused by lightning earlier this year. Other A-T-C projects include a new transmission line from Madison to La Crosse – a line from Madison to Dubuque – and a project in eastern Wisconsin designed to smooth out the flow of extra power from the Point Beach nuclear plant at Two Rivers.
The transmission firm is owned by major utilities that serve eastern Wisconsin – and that means the cost of the projects are passed along to electric customers. We Energies’ customers have seen their bills go up 63-percent in the last decade – and they’ve paid 11-and-a-half percent more for A-T-C’s work.
But electric usage in Wisconsin has gone down for two years due to the economy. And the Citizens Utility Board and Citizens Energy Task Force are among those wondering if A-T-C’s projects are really needed.