PEWAUKEE, Wis. A helicopter and heavy-duty air saw will be used beginning this week to trim trees along two 345-kilovolt and 138-kV transmission lines, from Germantown to Mishicot, Wis.
American Transmission Co. has contracted with Aerial Solutions, Inc. to manage vegetation growth along its transmission line corridors. The helicopters used by Aerial Solutions are equipped with heavy-duty air saws with rotary blades suspended on a 90- to 100-foot vertical boom.
When compared to the work of ground-based crews, the aerial saw has been highly efficient. Typically it takes ground crews several days to accomplish what an aerial saw can in just a few hours, said Ben Gura, ATC senior vegetation management specialist. Since the work is weather-dependent, it could take several weeks for the aerial saw to complete the vegetation maintenance along 172 miles.
Managing the growth of trees and other vegetation near high-voltage transmission lines is important to help ensure public safety and electric system reliability. ATC performs routine vegetation management on its 9,530 miles of transmission lines in five-year cycles.
PEWAUKEE, WIS. — American Transmission Co. is one of the 2016 Best Workplaces in Manufacturing and Production, according to the global research and consulting firm Great Place to Work® and Fortune Magazine.
ATC ranked No. 8 on the list, a ranking based on employees’ own assessments of the trust they feel toward ATC’s leaders, the pride they take in their jobs and the camaraderie they experience with coworkers. The Best Workplaces in Manufacturing and Production as a group stand out for fair profit sharing, giving employees a measure of job security and low turnover.
“We are honored to again be named among the best places to work in the country,” said ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe. “It is especially meaningful to be recognized because it is our employees who put us on the list.”
ATC was selected based on evaluations by more than 34,900 randomly selected employees from companies in the manufacturing and production sector. The full category in which ATC participated was Manufacturing & Production/Energy Distribution, as it was the established category that came closest to encompassing ATC’s unique business model as a transmission-only utility. Pewaukee, Wis.-based ATC was formed in 2001 as the first multi-state, transmission-only utility in the country.
“The leading manufacturing and production companies know the game has changed,” said Michael Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work. “The best workplaces in the industry know they can’t just churn out their products with warm bodies. They need to focus on attracting and retaining top talent by putting people first, in a high-trust culture. That’s how they are winning in the market.”
PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Scott Herbst has joined American Transmission Co. as vice president of Information Technology. Herbst comes to ATC from PPL Corp., where he was senior director for the IT Business Solutions group. Herbst also held IT and operations positions with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator and Xcel Energy. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree in finance, both from the University of Minnesota.
Program advocates electric reliability by promoting plantings outside the right-of-way
PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. recently awarded $60,000 to 39 communities in its service area to plant trees and other vegetation through its Community Planting Program, which is part of ATC’s Grow Smart ® initiative. Trees and other vegetation purchased by communities through the Community Planting Program reinforces this initiative by supporting the planting of tall-growing trees and other vegetation outside of high-voltage transmission line rights-of-way.
“Since this program began in 2013, ATC has awarded nearly $190,000 to more than 130 communities for planting projects,” said Mark Davis, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Trees are an important part of our environment. Tall-growing vegetation needs to be kept away from transmission lines to keep the public safe and the system reliable, and this program makes that initiative a win-win for everyone.”
To qualify, community recipients committed to complying with ATC’s maintenance standards for all current and future planting plans and urban forestry activities near high-voltage electric transmission lines. In addition to Norway, Mich., the following Wisconsin communities received amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000 for planting projects on public property where ATC facilities exist:
|Antigo||De Pere||McFarland||Stevens Point|
|Bayside||Fond du Lac||Oconto||Troy|
|Belgium||Forest County Potawatomi Community||Oregon||Turtle|
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Railbelt utilities have jointly submitted a report to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska summarizing continued progress on their voluntary efforts toward evaluating how the formation of an Alaska Railbelt Transco can provide overall benefits to the Railbelt. The Railbelt utilities continue to work with American Transmission Co., a Wisconsin-based transmission-only utility formed through a similar effort in 2001 in the Midwest.
The update to the RCA is the second this year and outlines progress made on both the economic analysis and a business plan for potentially transitioning from a network of separately operated transmission assets to an organization whereby the operation, maintenance and upgrades of this network are accomplished by an Alaska Railbelt transmission company. The analysis will continue into 2016. The concept requires approval by the governing bodies of the participating utilities.
The Railbelt utilities’ year-end transmission report can be found on the RCA website.
Anchorage Municipal Light & Power – ML&P provides electric utility service to commercial, university and medical customers in the downtown and midtown business districts as well as industrial loads in the Ship Creek and port areas. In addition, it serves residential customers in some of Anchorage’s oldest neighborhoods in its roughly 20-square-mile area. ML&P powers Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and sells electricity to other Railbelt utilities. www.mlandp.com
Media contact: Julie Harris, HarrisJA@muni.org, 907-263-5423
Chugach Electric Association, Inc. – Chugach provides power to Railbelt Alaskans through retail, wholesale and economy energy sales. Chugach operates 2,238 miles of energized line, including 539 miles of transmission lines. www.chugachelectric.com
Media contact: Phil Steyer, email@example.com, 907-762-4766
Golden Valley Electric Association – GVEA operates and maintains 3,202 miles of transmission and distribution lines and 34 substations in Interior Alaska. Its system is interconnected with Fort Wainwright, Eielson AFB, Fort Greely, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and all electric utilities in the Alaska Railbelt, which extends from Homer, Alaska to Fairbanks. Peak load in 2014 was 201.6 megawatts. System peak of 223 MW was set in December 2007. www.gvea.com
Media contact: Corinne Bradish, firstname.lastname@example.org, 907-451-5676
Homer Electric Association, Inc. – HEA is a member-owned electric cooperative that serves the western Kenai Peninsula. The cooperative has over 33,000 meters on its system and maintains 2,407 miles of energized lines. HEA owns and operates three generation plants on the Kenai Peninsula and its transmission services provide all Railbelt utilities access to low-cost energy. www.homerelectric.com
Media contact: Joe Gallagher, email@example.com, 907-283-2324
Matanuska Electric Association – MEA is a member-owned cooperative that serves the Matanuska/Susitna and Eagle River/Chugiak areas. MEA serves over 61,000 meters through more than 4,200 miles of power lines. It was formed in 1941 and is Alaska’s oldest and second-largest electric co-op. www.mea.coop
Media contact: Julie Estey, firstname.lastname@example.org, 907-761-9215
City of Seward Electric System – City of Seward runs its own electric utility and purchases power from Chugach Electric Association and has backup generation capabilities. www.cityofseward.us
Media contact: Johanna Kinney, email@example.com, 907-224-4045