American Transmission Co. http://www.atcllc.com Helping to keep the lights on, businesses running and communities strong. ® Mon, 22 May 2017 17:08:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Notes from the Field (Trips) http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/notes-from-the-field-trips/ Mon, 22 May 2017 17:05:08 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7723 Editor’s note: The field trip. A time to get out, learn and explore. The tradition of the outdoor “classroom” is a great way for children and adults to get closer to nature.

This special “field trip” installment features photos and observations from Michael Warwick, ATC senior environmental project manager and a volunteer nature guide specializing in the creepy, crawly, hopping and soaring creatures of the Upper Midwest.

When Michael isn’t busy leaving no log unturned (literally) in his search for snakes and such, he works with our contractors to ensure that we demonstrate our environmental commitment.

I led two Searching for Salamanders field trips this April, one hosted by the Natural Resources Foundation and one for ATC’s employee Green Team. While short on salamanders, there was plenty still to see, including turtles, frogs and snakes.

Finding salamanders is greatly weather-dependent. The land-dwelling species found locally typically migrate from their overwintering habitat in the woods to the closest pond to lay their eggs during the first warm rain of the season.

Central newts in their aquatic adult phase were plentiful and just getting ready to lay their eggs.

Due to early spring weather this year, most adult salamanders were likely already in their summer burrows, not to be seen again until next spring. A few blue-spotted sallies were still hanging around in low numbers. Central newts in their aquatic adult phase were plentiful and just getting ready to lay their eggs.

Trip-goers were lucky to observe numerous Blanding’s turtles, a species of special concern in Wisconsin. The Blanding’s turtle’s bright yellow throat makes it unmistakable amongst Wisconsin’s native turtle species.

Trip-goers were lucky to observe numerous Blanding’s turtles, a species of special concern in Wisconsin. The Blanding’s turtle’s bright yellow throat makes it unmistakable amongst Wisconsin’s native turtle species.

Kids in the group loved getting hands-on with the critters we came across.

Michael Warwick is a senior environmental project manager at ATC. Prior to joining ATC he worked as an environmental consultant conducting tree and plant surveys, wetland delineation, GIS, project planning, community planning and permitting. He previously worked at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with a focus on waterway monitoring and studies, and wetland and waterway permit reviews.

Michael earned a Bachelor of Science degree in conservation and environmental sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is certified by Wisconsin DNR as an Endangered Resources Reviewer and is a member of the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) Outreach Committee. He volunteers his time guiding annual natural resources-based educational field trips for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.

 

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New fleet of electric vehicles keeps ATC running green http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/new-fleet-of-electric-vehicles-keeps-atc-running-green/ Thu, 18 May 2017 13:58:25 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7716 American Transmission Co. employees are traveling green.

ATC purchased five Chevrolet Volts in the summer of 2016 as part of a grassroots effort by employees to find a more environmentally friendly option for company travel.

Called rEVs, the vehicles save fuel, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce costs. ATC provides charging stations at its offices for use by both the rEV fleet and employees’ personal electric vehicles.

Watch how it all started:

Join us at Party for the Planet May 20 – 21 in partnership with horticulturist and gardening expert Melinda Myers to learn how we can all rEV it Up and help pollinators!

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Grow Smart® project attracting bees, butterflies and other pollinators to Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/grow-smart-project-attracting-bees-butterflies-and-other-pollinators-to-bay-beach-wildlife-sanctuary/ Mon, 08 May 2017 15:26:05 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7702 Seeding project takes place on May 9 in right-of-way alongside sanctuary                       

PEWAUKEE, WIS. – Phase two of American Transmission Co.’s Grow Smart® initiative to attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators in the right-of-way that borders Green Bay’s Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary property takes place on May 9. The right-of-way is located under and along high voltage transmission lines on the northern border of I-43; west of Danz Avenue. and east of Irwin Street.

The first phase of this pollinator project began in 2015, when ATC vegetation management contractors used vegetation mowers to control the invasive species, such as buckthorn, from approximately six acres of the right-of-way. The following year, herbicides were selectively applied to the remaining invasive species within that acreage. On May 9, ATC’s environmental contractor, Cardno, will use equipment to broadcast a pollinator seed mix over two and one-half acres of the right-of-way in an effort to establish pollinator habitat. Earlier this year, ATC established a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for this project. As part of the agreement, the USFWS will supply the seed mix for the project.

“ATC’s Grow Smart® program offers suggestions for low-growing, compatible vegetation to plant in the right-of-way,” explained Gregory Levesque, director of environmental and local relations. “As an electric utility, we are uniquely positioned to establish our rights-of-way as suitable habitat to help pollinator species that we know are in decline. This project is one of many that ATC is initiating to revitalize our rights-of-way, by adjusting our seed mixes to include low-growing vegetation that attracts pollinators – such as those we promote in our Grow Smart® program. We are committed to helping our environment and pleased to be partnering with the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for this project.”

“We applaud ATC for this effort,” said Wildlife Sanctuary Executive Director Mike Reed. “They removed buckthorn and other invasive species from the land and are now replacing it with much-needed vegetation for pollinators. It fits in with the educational mission of the Sanctuary and lets people know that they, too, can plant vegetation that is beneficial for wildlife.”

ATC representatives and the Sanctuary Director will monitor the project throughout the growing season to evaluate and measure results. “By next year at this time, the data should provide us with a comprehensive picture of what plantings work well for that particular area, and what could be improved,” stated Levesque. “We’ll continue to maintain the vegetation at this site through our vegetation management program and volunteer activities.”

Anyone who would like to learn more about planting for pollinators can visit ATC’s Grow Smart® website: www.atc-GrowSmart.com. A free pollinator planting guide is available for download at the site.

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ATC commissions new technology, seed mixes to help pollinators http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-commissions-new-technology-seed-mixes-to-help-pollinators/ Wed, 03 May 2017 15:06:41 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7667 Bees, butterflies and birds will soon have more flowers, plants and vegetation to visit within American Transmission Co.’s service area.

That’s because ATC is working with its construction contractors to plant seed mixes in its rights-of-way that generate vegetation beneficial to many species of pollinators. Low-growing flowering plants, such as those that attract pollinators, can thrive within transmission line rights-of-way.

ATC has developed enhanced seed mixes to use in its rights-of-way that include plants that flower throughout the growing season. Longer flowering periods allow pollinators to benefit from nectar sources over a longer time span. Pollinators play an important role in contributing to our food security and healthy ecosystems by helping plants flower and reproduce.

ATC is using an innovative approach to identify which rights-of-way to distribute the enhanced seed mixes. ATC worked with an environmental contractor to develop a new geographic information system model to identify right-of-way segments where enhanced seed mixes could help better connect pollinators to their environments. It’s called the Pollinator Opportunities within Rights-of Way, or POWR, model.

“This technology allows us to determine where it makes the most sense to enhance areas for pollinators from a biological standpoint,” said Johanna Sievewright, senior environmental project manager.

So far, ATC has identified 210 priority segments where enhancing areas for pollinators could significantly benefit the local environment.

ATC also is collaborating with nature centers to distribute the enhanced seed mixes. ATC partnered with Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to enhance two and a half acres of right-of-way adjacent to the sanctuary property. ATC also partnered with Mequon Nature Preserve to enhance five acres of right-of-way on its property.

The goal is to help a number of different species, with a focus on endangered species like the rusty patched bumble bee. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently added the rusty patched bumble bee, native to the Upper Midwest, to the federal endangered species list.

“It’s important for us to increase habitat to ensure some of these species, like the rusty patched bumble bee, can grow in numbers and hopefully be removed from the endangered species list in the future. We want to do the right thing because we care,” said Sievewright.

ATC’s new POWR model is already generating industry buzz for its innovative approach to environmental stewardship. Sievewright shared how ATC is using its new technology to improve ecosystems at the Electric Power Research Institute Pollinator Workshop in Washington, D.C. in April and the Energy Research Center’s Rights-Of-Way as Habitats Working Group meeting in May.

If you’re interested in attracting pollinators to your own garden, ATC has created the GrowSmart® Pollinator Guide in partnership with horticulturist and gardening expert Melinda Myers.

Want to learn more about pollinators?

Come see us at Milwaukee County Zoo May 20 and 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Party for the Planet!

Stop by ATC’s booth to learn about pollinators through interactive games and activities. The pollinator theme aligns with ATC’s Grow Smart® program, which helps property owners and communities identify low-growing, beautiful, compatible vegetation that can be planted the smart way – a safe distance from transmission line rights-of-way.

Gardening expert and horticulturist Melinda Myers will also be there to help children and families plant pollinator-friendly vegetation in the ATC Pollinator Garden, which was established on the zoo grounds in 2015.

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ATC recognized again as Top Workplace http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-recognized-again-as-top-workplace/ Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:41:47 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7643 We have positive energy at American Transmission Co., and it shows year after year when our employees have an opportunity to share their opinion about what it’s like to work here.

For the fifth year, ATC has been awarded a Top Workplaces honor by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“Receiving this honor again is a tribute to our employees, who are among the best in our industry,” said ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe. “Their responses put us on the list, and their spirit of collaboration and innovation is what makes ATC a place where people learn, grow and stay.”

The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. The survey measured several aspects of workplace culture.

“The Top Workplaces award is not a popularity contest. And oftentimes, people assume it’s all about fancy perks and benefits.” says Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics. “But to be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health. And who better to ask about work life than the people who live the culture every day—the employees. Time and time again, our research has proven that what’s most important to them is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together.”

ATC is a great place to work because what we do matters. Plus, we get to work with smart, committed and caring people. That positive energy, along with great pay and benefits, is why employees want to learn, grow and stay here. It is an honor to be recognized by our employees for something we strive to provide every day, a great workplace.

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ATC to present proposed routes for Riverside Transmission Line Project http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-to-present-proposed-routes-for-riverside-transmission-line-project/ Mon, 24 Apr 2017 20:37:21 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7640 Proposed line would connect expanded Riverside Energy Center to electric grid

Madison, Wis. – American Transmission Co. is continuing public outreach for the proposed 345,000-volt Riverside Transmission Line Project with the last in a series of informational open houses for residents and other stakeholders in the area. Project plans include an approximately 4- to 4.5-mile, double-circuit transmission line from a planned new substation near the Alliant Energy West Riverside Energy Center to an existing 345-kV transmission line in the Town of Beloit.

The project is needed to connect the expanded Riverside Energy Center to the electric transmission grid. The West Riverside Energy Center will include a natural gas-fueled generating station with an integrated solar installation.

“We have identified two proposed routes for the project. If the project is approved, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin will select and order one route to be built,” said Charles Gonzales, ATC senior local relations representative. “This open house will provide property owners, local officials and other stakeholders in the area an opportunity to review project maps and ask questions.”

The open house date, time and location are listed below. Members of the project team will be on hand to answer questions and share information. There will not be a formal presentation.

Tuesday, May 2, 4 to 7 p.m.
Boundaries Bar & Grill, Birch Room Banquet Hall, 3807 S. Riverside Drive, Beloit

ATC plans to file a formal application to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in summer 2017 for authorization to construct the line. If the project is approved by the PSC, construction is expected to begin in 2018 to meet an in-service date of 2019.

A project map and up-to-date information are available at http://www.atc-projects.com/projects/riverside-transmission-line-project/.

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ATC goes blue for autism awareness month http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-goes-blue-for-autism-awareness-month/ Wed, 19 Apr 2017 19:00:02 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7608 If you visit American Transmission Co.’s offices, you may notice a bluish tint to the outdoor fountains and blue lights in some areas. It’s all to show support for autism awareness month.

ATC is joining thousands of other organizations across 157 countries striving to bring awareness to autism spectrum disorder during the month of April. Other organizations that have participated include the Sydney Opera House in Australia, Niagara Falls in Canada, The Great Pyramids of Giza, The Freedom Tower in New York and Milwaukee’s U.S. Bank building.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. There is not one autism but many subtypes, and each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges.

ATC is proud to help sponsor events geared toward supporting individuals with autism and their families. ATC is also proud to offer programs and support for employees who know or care for someone with autism.

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Wisconsin communities score 355 trees through ATC, Bucks partnership http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/wisconsin-communities-score-355-trees-through-atc-bucks-partnership/ Tue, 11 Apr 2017 16:08:02 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7557

The Bucks welcomed American Transmission Co. to center court during its last regular season game Monday night.

American Transmission Co. is donating 355 trees to Wisconsin communities as part of a partnership called Trees for Threes with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Trees for Threes program sponsors the planting of a new tree in Wisconsin for each three-point shot the Bucks made at the BMO Harris Bradley Center this season. That total was 355 after the Bucks’ last regular season game Monday night.

The team far surpassed its three-point tally from last season, which was 220 three-pointers made at home.

ATC and the Bucks will identify Wisconsin schools and community partners to participate in the tree plantings. The Trees for Threes initiative aligns with ATC’s Grow Smart® program, which helps property owners and communities identify low-growing, compatible vegetation that can be planted the smart way – a safe distance from transmission line rights-of-way.

Check back for updates about tree plantings near you.

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New engineers learn the ropes with ATC design engineering team http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/new-engineers-learn-the-ropes-with-atc-design-engineering-team/ Thu, 06 Apr 2017 17:51:07 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7539

The design engineering team celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2016.

American Transmission Co. is home to some of the best and brightest engineering minds in the utility industry.

 
That’s thanks, in part, to a team that’s relatively small and rather new; but it’s a team that’s making a substantial impact – design engineering.

 
In just six years, ATC’s design engineering department has supported $100 million in projects. Still, Design Engineering Manager Nick G. says the department’s most valuable asset isn’t the projects – it’s the people.

 
The department has welcomed, encouraged and cultivated the talents of dozens of engineers and designers, many of whom started with ATC as recent college graduates.

 
Meredith J., project engineer, credits her time in the department with her growth as an engineer.

 
She graduated from UW-Madison in 2011 with a civil engineering degree. She joined ATC as a scheduler in 2012 after working briefly in the utility industry. Hoping to gain more engineering experience, she joined the design engineering team. After honing her skills in the department, she now works on much larger projects as a project engineer with ATC.

 
“The experience in design engineering has been incredibly valuable in my current role as a project engineer,” said Meredith.

 
Design engineering supports projects that play a vital role in ensuring ATC meets energy needs across its service territory. The team is responsible for designing repairs or replacements of infrastructure like wood poles, batteries, communication technologies and control devices. The team also works on line relocation projects, and projects connecting transmission lines to distribution substations.

 
The design engineering team formed in 2011 when ATC opted to bring formerly contracted design services in-house. Leaders at ATC thought the department could help train and cultivate newer engineers.

 
Six years later, the design engineering team atmosphere is undeniably positive with a focus on collaboration and creativity. Nick says it’s not just the newer engineers who benefit – it’s everyone.

 
“It’s fun. We learn a lot. The more experienced people learn a lot from the new employees, so it makes it a lot of fun to have that new, fresh creativity in the group,” he said.

 

Jerry C., senior civil designer, design engineering, was one of the more experienced employees to join the team. He transferred to the department after a number of years with ATC to fill a need on the team for more  employees with a background in civil design.

 
“I feel very proud of what design engineering has accomplished in its short existence,” said Jerry. “We have trained young engineers that have now gone on to other positions within the company, and we have saved the company money by bringing some of the engineering back in-house.”

 
Tam V., team leader, design engineering, also joined design engineering to help mentor newer engineers.

 
“Working with the new engineers and designers in design engineering – watching them learn the business and develop their skills – has been the most rewarding part of my career,” he said. “They have a lot of energy and are eager to learn and make an impact.  Sometimes the most difficult thing is to slow them down a little and help them learn to walk before they run. The goal is always for continuous and steady improvement.”

 
Going forward, the team is looking forward to bringing in more engineers and helping them learn to both walk and run with ATC.

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2016 in review http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/2016-in-review/ Mon, 27 Mar 2017 18:42:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7479 2016 was a big year for American Transmission Co.

From new projects to new technologies, ATC is committed to being America’s premier energy delivery partner.

You can read all about our recent success in our 2016 annual report.

The report covers our commitment to excellence in power delivery, environmental stewardship, community partnerships and our financial health.

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For the bees: ATC system protection engineer takes up hobby beekeeping with family http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/for-the-bees-atc-system-protection-engineer-takes-up-hobby-beekeeping-with-family/ Tue, 14 Mar 2017 14:07:27 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7428

Tim Schmidt, ATC senior system protection engineer, and his son check on a honey bee hive.

Tim Schmidt spends his days at American Transmission Co. helping keep the lights on for millions of people by ensuring electric reliability of the transmission grid as a senior system protection engineer.

He spends many of his weekends monitoring and ensuring the success of a completely different type of system – honey bee hives.

Schmidt began toying with the idea of becoming a hobby beekeeper five years ago. He and his family have always been environmentally conscious. They built their home in Brown County, Wis. with solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling. They planted wildflowers across much of their two acres.

“It just made sense that our wildflowers would do better if they had local pollination,” said Schmidt. “I’m always interested in being involved with my kids and having it as a learning experience. It combined our mindset of being green with our connection to nature.”

“People Thought I was Nuts”

After a considerable amount of research, Schmidt decided to start his first hive. Now, five years later, he has five hives and is well on his way to his goal of maintaining 12 hives.

Schmidt says it’s a hobby many people don’t understand at first.

“People thought I was nuts. They said, ‘You want to have an insect that can sting you?’ … When you first talk to somebody about bees, they think of the physical aspects and getting stung. But it’s not the honey bees that typically go after a person; it’s hornets and wasps. In general, honey bees will leave you alone unless you disturb their nest.”

Schmidt describes his role of beekeeper as a type of partnership with the queen bee, which ensures the health and viability of the hive.

“In the springtime, you’re making sure that the queen is doing her job and that she’s healthy,” said Schmidt. “You’re looking at several things within a hive as indicators of that queen, and you’re trying to check on it to see how she’s doing.”

Looking Forward to Spring

At this time of the year, Schmidt’s hives are quiet. The honey bees are living off the supply of honey they stocked away to make it through the winter. Three of his five hives have headcounts of roughly 8,000 bees. But soon, that will change.

As spring approaches and summer arrives, Schmidt says the hives will become much more active. The queen will begin laying more eggs, and the female worker bees will travel from flower to flower, collecting pollen. That pollen serves as the honey bees’ main protein source as they turn nectar and other enzymes into honey. At their peak over the summer, Schmidt hopes each hive will have around 60,000 – 80,000 bees.

After a healthy and productive year for the hive, Schmidt can begin collecting honey in the fall. He makes sure to leave enough behind for his bees to survive each winter.

He said beekeeping is something his entire family enjoys together, especially with his daughter, 9, and son, 7.

“They’re out there in their own beekeeping equipment, sticking their nose in the hive saying ‘Hey, what’s that? Hey, what’s that? Hey, Dad, look there’s the queen!’ They’ve picked up on those small things,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt says he’s looking forward to many more years of connecting to nature through beekeeping with his family as his children grow.

“I’m just at the beginning,” he said.

Planting for Pollinators

ATC works with our environmental contractors to plant seed mixes in the rights-of-way that generate vegetation beneficial to many species of bees, butterflies and birds. Low-growing perennials and grasses, such as those planted to attract pollinators, can grow and thrive within transmission line rights-of-way.

ATC is also helping people learn how to help pollinators in their own yards. Sustainable rights-of-way with compatible plant communities can help limit ATC’s long-term vegetation management program, which is needed to keep transmission lines safe and reliable.

In partnership with horticulturist and gardening expert Melinda Myers, American Transmission Co. has put together two guides to identify vegetation that will help attract pollinators like Schmidt’s bees. You can view or print the GrowSmart® Planting Guide and the GrowSmart® Pollinator Guide to learn more.

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Aerial tree trimming planned for southwest Wisconsin area http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/aerial-tree-trimming-planned-for-southwest-wisconsin-area/ Mon, 13 Mar 2017 19:40:57 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7423 Helicopter, air saw to be used along electric transmission line

MADISON, Wis. – Crews are planning to use a helicopter and heavy-duty air saw beginning this week to trim trees along an existing 69,000-volt transmission line from the Boscobel to the Wauzeka, Wis., area.

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 and 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 crew can in a few hours,” said Joe Benzschawel, ATC vegetation management specialist. “Since the work is weather-dependent, it could take one week for the aerial saw to complete the vegetation maintenance in this area.”

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 9,540 miles of transmission lines in five-year cycles.

Note to editors: A map of the planned aerial saw work is available here. Video footage of similar vegetation management work is on our YouTube page.

 

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ATC employees support local STEM programs through volunteer day http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-employees-support-local-stem-programs-through-volunteer-day/ Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:38:56 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7241 American Transmission Co. celebrated its recent commendation as one of the Best Workplaces for Giving Back with a company-wide volunteer day Friday. Last week, Great Place to Work and Fortune Magazine named ATC to their list of Best Workplaces for Giving Back for the second year in a row.

Employees at each ATC office worked on projects Friday that support local schools’ Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs. ATC employees will also volunteer their time at the schools in the coming months. The volunteer day wrapped up a week of company-wide goal setting and discussions surrounding ATC’s Mission, Vision and Values.

Pewaukee:

Employees helped assemble wood tower kits for Fairview elementary students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Students will use the kits to explore engineering concepts and test the towers for strength.

Employees helped test model solar cars and provided feedback to teachers at Milwaukee Academy of Science.

Employees learned about the STEM projects students at Waukesha South Engineering Academy are working on and brainstormed more projects to support their curriculum.

Madison:

Employees helped eighth grade engineering students at River Bluff Middle School in Stoughton, Wis. with a project to create a model of a simple transformer.

Cottage Grove:

Employees helped test model solar cars and taught about soil resistivity at Rome Corners Intermediate School in Oregon, Wis.

De Pere:

Employees helped test a Solar Home Lab project for Ashwaubenon High School students.

Kingsford:

Employees tested model solar cars for Kingsford Middle School. A group will later visit the school to speak with seventh and eighth grade students about ATC and careers in STEM.

St. Ignace:

ATC made a donation to support the La Salle High School robotics and engineering program.

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Aerial tree trimming planned for central Wisconsin http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/aerial-tree-trimming-planned-for-central-wisconsin/ Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:29:30 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7229 Helicopter, air saw to be used along transmission line

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – A helicopter and heavy-duty air saw will be used this week and continue through mid-March to trim trees along two 345,000-volt lines from Stevens Point to Appleton, as well as along a 138-kV line in Wood and Juneau counties.

American Transmission Co. has contracted with Aerial Solutions, Inc. to manage vegetation growth along its transmission line corridors. This work will be accomplished using an aerial power saw with rotary blades that is suspended from a helicopter on a 90-foot vertical boom.

The aerial saw has been highly efficient when compared to the work of ground-based crews. “It takes just a few hours for an aerial saw to complete what typically takes ground crews several days to accomplish,” said Adam Helminiak, ATC senior vegetation management specialist. “However, the aerial work is weather-dependent and it could take up to several weeks for the saw to complete the vegetation maintenance along the transmission lines.”

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 9,540 miles of transmission lines in five-year cycles.

Note to editors: Landowners in proximity to the transmission lines scheduled for this work have been notified of the work via mail. Maps indicating the planned aerial saw work can be found on our website. Work on section WERWL41 is scheduled first, followed by work on NAPL71 and X-43. Video footage of similar vegetation management work can be found on our YouTube page.

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American Transmission Co. is one of the country’s best workplaces for giving back http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-is-one-of-the-countrys-best-workplaces-for-giving-back/ Thu, 09 Feb 2017 14:25:06 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7213 PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has been named one of the Best Workplaces for Giving Back for the second consecutive year by Great Place to Work and Fortune.

The national list is based on more than 350,000 surveys of employees across a range of industries, as well as their organizations’ charitable programs and giving.

“As a company, we care about the communities we serve, and our employees are generous with their time and money,” said ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe. “Last year, our employees logged almost 19,000 volunteer hours to help organizations that are important to them. They also have increased their pledges to United Way for seven consecutive years.” In addition, the company donated $690,000 to benefit more than 400 organizations providing important services to local communities last year.

Great Place to Work’s research found that employees who are strongly connected to their organization’s positive influence on the community have 4 to 11 times the productivity, commitment, brand ambassadorship and overall work experience as their peers. As a result, people at winning workplaces report more pride in their employers and experience deeper meaning in their day-to-day work.

“The Best Workplaces for Giving Back are accomplishing something greater than the sum of their contributions to worthy causes. They also offer employees a sense they’re part of something bigger that’s making a difference in the world,” said Chinwe Onyeagoro, president of Great Place to Work.

The Best Workplaces for Giving Back is one of a series of rankings by Great Place to Work and Fortune based on employee survey feedback from Great Place to Work–Certified™ organizations.

ATC also ranked on the 2016 lists for Best Medium Workplaces and Best Workplaces to Retire From by Great Place to Work and Fortune. Click here for ATC’s company profile.

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About Great Place to Work

Great Place to Work is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programs, including Best Workplaces lists and workplace reviews, Great Place to Work provides the benchmarks, framework and expertise needed to create, sustain and recognize outstanding workplace cultures. In the United States, Great Place to Work produces the annual Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For®” and a series of Great Place to Work Best Workplaces lists, including lists for Millennials, Women, Diversity, Small and Medium Companies and over a half dozen different industries.

Follow Great Place to Work online at www.greatplacetowork.com and on Twitter at @GPTW_US. When sharing on social media about the 2017 Best Workplaces for Giving Back, please use the hashtag: #bestworkplaces.

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A year in pictures: Giving back at American Transmission Co. http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/a-year-in-pictures-giving-back-at-american-transmission-co/ Thu, 09 Feb 2017 13:27:28 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7203 American Transmission Co. is honored Fortune and consultancy Great Place to Work named us one of the 2017 Best Workplaces for Giving Back.

To celebrate the designation, we are looking back on some of our favorite moments from 2016 spent in the communities we live in, work in and serve.

 

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Q&A: ATC-AEPCO team up under new ATC Southwest partnership http://www.atcllc.com/blog/qa-atc-aepco-team-up-under-new-atc-southwest-partnership/ Thu, 02 Feb 2017 18:08:31 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7184 ATC Development Co., a branch of American Transmission Co., has a new partner in the southwestern U.S. ATC has entered into a joint operating agreement with Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) to develop needed transmission projects in Arizona and throughout the Southwest.

The unique partnership, called ATC Southwest™, will benefit electric cooperatives and people who live in the region by developing options  to help address the demand for an affordable and reliable transmission system.

The partnership is more than five years in the making. Laurie Dunham, manager, business development, played a key role in facilitating a team of legal, finance, operations, compliance, planning and business development experts to meet the needs of both companies.

Dunham shared some insights regarding the new partnership:

Q: Why the southwestern U.S.?
Dunham: We see the Southwest as an area of growing opportunities. Population growth, a changing resource mix including solar and other renewables, and an evolving regulatory atmosphere all make it a rich environment for ATC Southwest to grow.

Q: What’s next?
Dunham: The next steps are already in progress. ATC Southwest™ has engineering studies underway to identify transmission solutions that address economic needs in the Southwest.

Q: How does this new partnership fit with ATC’s long-term goals?
Dunham: This is an affirmation of the extensive work we have been doing to form key relationships, and it is the next step in cultivating us as the premier energy partner in the United States.

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Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, ATC Development Co. form ATC Southwest to jointly develop transmission projects in Arizona and southwestern U.S. http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/arizona-electric-power-cooperative-atc-development-co-form-atc-southwest-to-jointly-develop-transmission-projects-in-arizona-and-southwestern-u-s/ Mon, 30 Jan 2017 15:17:10 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7178 BENSON, Arizona – Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) and ATC Development Co., a development branch of Wisconsin-based American Transmission Co. (ATC), have entered into a joint operating agreement to develop needed transmission projects in Arizona and the southwestern United States. The unique partnership is embodied in a new transmission company under the banner of ATC Southwest. www.ATCSouthwest.com

ATC Southwest will benefit electric cooperative members and electric consumers in the Southwest by developing options to help address the demand for an affordable, reliable transmission system.

“Arizona and the Southwest are growing, and we’re already seeing increased demand for power that can only be met if we’re willing to step up and develop the transmission projects that will meet that demand over the next two decades and beyond,” said Patrick Ledger, AEPCO chief executive officer.

“This partnership means both companies can draw on our mutual resources to meet that demand in a way that keeps rates low and reliability high,” Ledger said.

“We are pleased to be partnering with AEPCO and its family of cooperative utilities to address transmission development needs in the region,” said Mike Rowe, president and chief executive officer of ATC Development Co. “We have significant experience working with public power in the Midwest, and we look forward to partnering with public power in the Southwest. ATC Southwest will be adding value through identifying and implementing transmission solutions that deliver reliability, economic and renewable energy benefits in the southwestern United States.”

Both companies bring complementary strengths and experience to this mutually beneficial joint venture. AEPCO, a not-for-profit, member-owned generation and transmission cooperative based in Benson, Arizona, has more than five decades of engineering, constructing, maintaining and operating generation and transmission systems in Arizona. AEPCO’s core business is providing for the low-cost energy needs of rural members and other customers. Additionally, AEPCO has many established relationships with energy providers throughout the southwestern United States that can facilitate future transmission development.

ATC started operations in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state, transmission-only utility. It provides transmission service to 26 utilities, including 22 cooperative and municipal utilities. ATC is an established and premier leader in transmission development having invested more than $4.1 billion to improve the adequacy and reliability of the transmission infrastructure in the Upper Midwest. ATC’s cost controls, purchasing and benchmarking strategies result in construction cost estimate accuracy that consistently beats the industry average. ATC Development Co. plans to leverage these strengths through the ATC Southwest partnership with AEPCO.

###

About AEPCO

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative and Sierra Southwest collectively make up Arizona G&T Cooperatives. AEPCO owns and operates the 605-megawatt (combined gross) Apache Generating Station, located at Cochise, east of Benson. AEPCO also owns and maintains more than 620 miles of transmission lines and 26 substations to provide wholesale electric power from Apache to six member distribution cooperatives in southern Arizona, western New Mexico, northwestern Arizona and California.

Combined, the distribution cooperatives that receive AEPCO’s wholesale power serve more than 150,000 meters representing more than 400,000 individual residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial member/consumers.

The Class A member cooperatives that receive wholesale power from AEPCO include Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Willcox; Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative, Duncan; Graham County Electric Cooperative, Pima; Trico Electric Cooperative, Marana; Mohave Electric Cooperative; Bullhead City; and Anza Electric Cooperative, Anza, California.

These member cooperatives own the AzGT and, by extension, the G&T Cooperatives are owned by their members—the people at the end of the line who use the power. AEPCO and several of its cooperative members borrow from the Rural Utilities Service, a federal agency.

About ATC Development Co.

ATC Development Co. is the development branch formed by certain owners of American Transmission Co. (ATC) to pursue development outside of ATC’s traditional footprint. ATC is a Wisconsin-based utility that owns and operates the electric transmission system in portions of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, ATC has invested $4.1 billion to improve the adequacy and reliability of the transmission infrastructure in the Upper Midwest. ATC now owns and operates $4.4 billion in assets, including more than 9,540 miles of transmission lines and 548 substations. Of ATC’s ownership, 12 percent is owned by municipal and cooperative utilities, and 88 percent is owned by investor-owned utilities. www.atcllc.com

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Bucks’ success means 200+ trees for Wisconsin through ATC partnership http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/bucks-success-means-200-trees-for-wisconsin-through-atc-partnership/ Tue, 24 Jan 2017 15:16:51 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7126 An exciting new partnership between American Transmission Co. and the Milwaukee Bucks has already scored 201 trees for Wisconsin communities, with more to come. The program, called Trees for Threes, sponsors the planting of a new tree in Wisconsin for every three-pointer the Bucks make at home this season.

 
After last night’s game, the Bucks have played 23 regular season home games and scored 201 three-pointers in the process. With 18 home games to go in the regular season, the Bucks on track to surpass the 220 three-pointers the team scored last season.

 
ATC and the Bucks will identify Wisconsin schools and community partners to participate in the tree plantings. The Trees for Threes initiative aligns with ATC’s Grow Smart® program, which helps property owners and communities identify low-growing, compatible vegetation that can be planted the smart way – a safe distance from transmission line rights-of-way.

 
You can keep up with our tree tracker on Twitter by following #TreesForThrees. You can also visit bucks.com/trees.

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Excavator safety training underway http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/excavator-safety-training-underway/ Thu, 19 Jan 2017 20:51:53 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7103 MILWAUKEE, Wis.— Construction crews throughout Wisconsin and Michigan are learning the latest laws and best practices for staying safe when digging near utilities.

American Transmission Co. helps sponsor excavator safety meetings hosted by Diggers Hotline and Miss Dig each year between January and April.

During the meetings, business owners, construction workers and municipal employees enjoy a meal while speakers explain the steps they must take before breaking ground on any project to avoid hitting underground gas, electric, fiber optic and private facilities. Speakers also cover how to locate an underground utility and what to do in an emergency.

In 2016, more than 5,000 contractors attended the meetings.

The meetings began earlier this month, with 37 scheduled for the year. Check out the photos below from today’s excavator safety breakfast in Milwaukee.

 

Remember, always call 811 before you dig. If you’re working near an ATC underground transmission line, you must have an ATC representative on site.

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New drone images: Substation progress http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/new-drone-images-substation-progress/ Thu, 12 Jan 2017 16:55:02 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7089 PEWAUKEE, Wis. — American Transmission Co. is reinforcing the electrical transmission grid in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northeastern Wisconsin to address generation changes, changes in demand and reliability concerns.

The project includes work at several substations in Wisconsin. Check out the drone pictures below to see expansions at the North Appleton and Morgan substations, as well as new construction on the Benson Lake Substation in Marinette County.

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American Transmission Co. awards $50,000 to communities for vegetation plantings http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-awards-50000-to-communities-for-vegetation-plantings/ Fri, 06 Jan 2017 17:36:19 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7077 Program advocates electric reliability by promoting plantings outside the right-of-way

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has awarded $50,000 collectively to 27 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. Vegetation funded through this program requires that communities plant tall-growing trees outside of high-voltage transmission line rights-of-way, helping to keep the electric transmission lines safe and reliable.

“We’re proud of the success of this program, which is now in its fourth year,” said Mark Davis, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “ATC is committed to maintaining a green environment and this program has awarded nearly $240,000 to more than 150 communities for planting projects. At ATC, we have a one-team approach and when communities partner with us for initiatives like the Community Planting Program, they become part of the team.”

Community recipients qualify for the program by committing to comply with ATC’s maintenance standards for all current and future planting plans and urban forestry activities near high-voltage electric transmission lines. The following Wisconsin communities received amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000 for planting projects on public property:

AthensDunbarHowardMenashaOzaukee County
BarabooGays MillsKimberlyMequonPlatteville
BeecherGillettKewauneeMilwaukeePortage
BristolGilmanManitowocNekoosaSheboygan Falls
De PereGrand ChuteManitowoc CountyOconomowocWatertown
West Allis

ATC will accept applications for the 2017 Community Planting Program from June 1 through Sept. 30.

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American Transmission Co. elects two new board members http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-elects-two-new-board-members/ Thu, 05 Jan 2017 19:20:28 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7061 PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Michael R. Niggli and Robert Foster joined the board of directors of American Transmission Co. Both men have had executive careers in the energy field for more than 40 years.

Niggli is the retired president and chief operating officer of San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Foster is the retired president of Southern California Edison.

Niggli spent 30 years in leadership positions with Sempra Energy and its subsidiaries, including positions as COO of Southern California Gas Co. and president of Sempra Generation. Prior to joining Sempra, he was chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president of Nevada Power Co. He held the same titles at Sierra Pacific Resources after the merger of those two companies. The combined companies served most of the state of Nevada with electric transmission, distribution and generation as well as serving the northwestern portion of the state with natural gas and water service.

Foster began his career with the California State Senate Energy Committee and advanced to division chief and deputy director of the California Energy Commission prior to joining Edison. He was at the forefront of energy efficiency and renewables, pioneering California’s energy standards for buildings in the 1970s and leading Edison back to financial health after the state’s energy crisis. After retiring, he served as chairman of the California Independent System Operator and also served two terms as mayor of Long Beach.

“These two men had distinguished careers serving energy customers in the western United States and will provide valuable insight to ATC leadership as we pursue our vision to become American’s premier energy delivery partner,” said ATC President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Rowe. “We welcome them to our board.”

Michael R. Niggli

Robert Foster

 

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Construction kicks off for Creekview Interconnection Project http://www.atcllc.com/blog/construction-kicks-off-for-creekview-interconnection-project-construction/ Wed, 21 Dec 2016 19:33:23 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7044 It may be winter, but just south of the Village of Eden, Wis., there’s a flurry of activity going on. Trees are being removed. Construction mats have been laid. Trucks are in the transmission line right-of-way. All of these activities are necessary for crews to get access to the right-of-way and make way for the new transmission line and substation called the Creekview Interconnection Project.

Several years ago, this rural landscape took a turn. The population grew, ever so slightly – and people began using more electricity. Planning engineers at ATC and We Energies noticed.

“The area’s electric transmission system is vulnerable to low voltages and power outages,” said ATC Project Manager, Barbara Mikolajczyk. “This project also will provide system redundancy and allow for maintenance outages when repairs are needed.”

What does that mean, exactly? Basically, the existing infrastructure can no longer adequately support the lower-voltage distribution system in the area. We Energies came up with a solution for this issue by proposing a new substation in the area to support the electric system’s reliability. To complement that, the existing electric infrastructure needs to be built to support that substation.
ATC submitted its plans for this new substation and transmission line to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in February 2015 and by fall of that same year, ATC and WE Energies had gained approval for the project. The project includes a 138,000-volt transmission line, which will provide service to the new We Energies substation. The transmission line will run from the substation east and then connect north for 9.3 miles along an existing 345-kV line.

Crew members from Henkels & McCoy continue to clear vegetation from the right-of-way to make room for the Creekview Interconnection Project’s new 138,000-volt line.

So what should residents expect to see in the coming months?

  • In order to make room for the crews and their equipment, vegetation management work is needed – which is the first phase of construction for most ATC projects. Vegetation management in this region initiated in September and will continue through February 2017.
  • ATC’s contractor, Henkels & McCoy, is placing large construction mats in the right-of-way to protect the ground underneath from heavy equipment that will continue to access the right-of-way throughout the winter months. Crews will move the mats from their northern locations in the project to the southern locations as the work progresses.
  • The new substation will occupy a parcel approximately 425′ by 425′ located on the north side of CTH F, east of Greenway Road. That work will initiate in April 2017 and poles in the region will be erected around that same time.

Overall work on the transmission line infrastructure will continue with an in-service goal date of October 2017.

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Illinois Commerce Commission approves ATC transmission line and substation http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/illinois-commerce-commission-approves-atc-transmission-line-and-substation/ Wed, 21 Dec 2016 17:31:32 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7041 ATC to seek regulatory approval in Wisconsin

Pewaukee, Wis. – American Transmission Co. on Dec. 20 received approval from the Illinois Commerce Commission for the southern portion of the Wisconsin-Illinois Electric Reliability Project.

The ICC approved ATC’s preferred route of the project and substation, with components that include constructing a double-circuit, 345,000-volt transmission line to connect to an existing line in southern Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and connecting that line to the ComEd transmission system in Illinois through a new substation on the north side of Rosecrans Road (Hwy. 173) in the Village of Wadsworth.

The approximate 3-mile transmission line addresses the potential risk of cascading outages under certain operating conditions, and also would accommodate the increasing power flows occurring from Wisconsin to Illinois.

ATC also is required to file an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for the northern portion of the proposed transmission line. That filing is anticipated to be made in January 2017.

“Approval from the ICC on this project is a major step forward in providing a reliable, alternative power path in this region,” said Barbara Mikolajczyk, ATC project manager. “We will soon present our project to Wisconsin regulators and look forward to a similar decision from the PSC.”

The project is estimated to cost approximately $55 million. If approved, construction could begin as early as spring 2020 to meet a proposed in-service date later that same year. Additional information can be found on the ICC’s website and on the PSCW’s website.

A map of the project can be found here and additional information about ATC and our projects can be found at atc-projects.com.

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ATC employees get creative with toy donations for kids http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-employees-get-creative-with-toy-donations-for-kids/ Thu, 15 Dec 2016 20:38:18 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=7016 American Transmission Co. employees are embracing a new spin on the traditional Secret Santa gift-giving game as a way to help brighten the holidays for Wisconsin children.

Instead of buying gifts for each other, employees in the legal and environmental departments bought toys inspired by their coworkers for children in need.

Here’s how it worked: each employee drew the name of a colleague. Then, the givers bought toys that reminded them of their randomly selected coworkers.

After the “exchange,” all toys were donated to Toys for Tots.

“It was a great way to learn more about each other, while helping the children in our community who might otherwise be forgotten this holiday season,” said Danna Treutelaar, legal executive assistant.

Check out some of the photos from the gift “exchange” below:


We’re proud to help serve our communities – it’s part of ATC’s culture and commitment to do our part.

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ATC employees donate meals to families in need http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-employees-donate-meals-to-families-in-need/ Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:40:55 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6993 ATC employees helped unload Milwaukee County Transit System buses full of food for families in need at the Feeding America food bank in Milwaukee.

ATC employees helped unload Milwaukee County Transit System buses full of food for families in need at the Feeding America food bank in Milwaukee.

American Transmission Co. employees are pitching in to help feed families who may not know where their next meal is coming from this holiday season.

During our We Care Food Drive, ATC employees across five separate offices donated more than 3,500 meals to local food pantries.

Donations from the Pewaukee office went to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. Cottage Grove and Madison donations went to the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. The De Pere office donated to Paul’s Pantry in Green Bay, Wis. Gracious Rose Ministries in Sagola, Mich., benefited from donations in the Kingsford office.

ATC employees also volunteered during a Stuff the Bus event to unload and sort food delivered to the Feeding America food bank in Milwaukee the day before Thanksgiving.

We’re proud to help serve our communities – it’s part of ATC’s culture and commitment to do our part.

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ATC, Bucks team up with ‘Trees for Threes’ http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-bucks-team-up-with-trees-for-threes/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:15:59 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6981 treesforthrees_scoreboard-cropAmerican Transmission Co. has teamed up with the Milwaukee Bucks this basketball season for an exciting new partnership to help green up local communities. Through a new program called Trees for Threes, the Bucks and ATC will sponsor the planting of a new tree in Wisconsin for every 3-pointer the Bucks make at home this season.

This unique initiative pairs the Bucks’ success with a greener environment but ultimately, it will be Wisconsin communities that score. The Bucks and ATC will identify Wisconsin schools and community partners to participate in tree plantings following the season, and Bucks and ATC representatives will join students in the planting events. The Trees for Threes initiative aligns with ATC’s Grow Smart program, which helps property owners and communities identify low-growing, compatible vegetation that can be planted the smart way – a safe distance from transmission line rights-of-way.

Last season the Bucks hit 220 3-pointers at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, and the team is on pace to far surpass that mark this year. Stay tuned for information on how your local school can apply to be a part of Trees for Threes. For a running tally of how many 3-pointers the Bucks have hit this season follow us on Twitter or visit www.bucks.com/trees.

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Notes from the Field – Of Turkeys and Transmission Lines http://www.atcllc.com/blog/notes-from-the-field-of-turkeys-and-transmission-lines/ Tue, 22 Nov 2016 20:23:19 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6957 Editor’s note: People often joke that there are two seasons in Wisconsin: Winter and road construction. This year has disproven the joke with distinct and beautiful spring, summer and fall seasons.

American Transmission Co. environmental project managers traverse hills and countryside monitoring construction activities year-round. They are the eyes and ears in the field, working with contractors to ensure that we demonstrate our environmental commitment.

Our Notes from the Field blog features highlights of what our environmental project managers see while they work on projects throughout our service area. This installment features photos and observations from Michael Warwick, ATC senior environmental project manager.

Autumn in Wisconsin

Summer is long gone, and with it, much of the wildlife we’ve grown accustomed to seeing out in the field. However, the unseasonably warm October and early November in Wisconsin has ensured that there were plenty to still enjoy.

Turkey trot

A staple at many Thanksgiving tables, turkey are also a regular sight in rural Wisconsin. This bird was out foraging along with companions near Portage.

turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snakes,frogs and turtles… In November!?! 

Since snakes, frogs, and turtles are cold-blooded, they seek out warmth where they can until they eventually find their way to their winter homes. Even in November, a warm day or two will often result in these critters trying to soak in the sun’s warming rays. This Dekay’s snake was sunning on a bed of leaves in Dane County. The map turtle took in some rays while watching the Wisconsin River flow. The leopard frog, just one of many, endangers its life by finding warmth in the asphalt road, while vehicles narrowly miss it as they pass by.

snake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

turtle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

frog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fly

A red-tailed hawk sits patiently on a distribution power line pole while it waits for food (snakes, mice, voles, or other rodents) to reveal itself in the grasses below.

hawk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandhill cranes are still plentiful and will likely remain in the area until late December, unless severe winter weather forces them south sooner.

crane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

warwickcropMichael Warwick is a senior environmental project manager at ATC. Prior to joining ATC he worked as an environmental consultant conducting tree and plant surveys, wetland delineation, GIS, project planning, community planning and permitting. He previously worked at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with a focus on waterway monitoring and studies, and wetland and waterway permit reviews.

Michael earned a Bachelor of Science degree in conservation and environmental sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is currently certified by Wisconsin DNR as an Endangered Resources Reviewer and is a member of the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) Outreach Committee. He volunteers his time guiding annual natural resources-based educational field trips for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.

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New trail option ready for ‘National Take a Hike Day’ http://www.atcllc.com/blog/new-trail-option-ready-for-national-take-a-hike-day/ Thu, 17 Nov 2016 17:10:11 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6948 State and local officials and ATC project representatives attended a celebration event for the completion of the Holmes-Old Mead Road project.

State and local officials and ATC project representatives
attended a celebration event for the completion of the Holmes-Old
Mead Road project.

There’s nothing quite like a fall hike – with crisp leaves underfoot and a brisk breeze in the air.

For hiking enthusiasts in Upper Michigan, there’s a new trail to try just in time for “National Take a Hike Day.” According to the American Hiking Society, Thursday, Nov. 17, is the perfect day to enjoy the great outdoors on a trail.

American Transmission Co. built a multipurpose recreation trail in an abandoned rail corridor between Hermansville and Escanaba, Mich. The trail is a public/private partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation (which owned the corridor) and the Department of Natural Resources, which will own and maintain the trail.

The 25-mile trail is at the eastern half of the new 58-mile transmission line placed into service earlier this year between Holmes Substation in Menominee County and the Old Mead Road Substation in Escanaba, Mich.

Here at ATC, we think it’s the perfect time for a power walk!

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ATC Ready campaign shows we care http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-ready-campaign-shows-we-care/ Mon, 31 Oct 2016 14:56:58 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6932 Members of the Pewaukee Police Department were presented with a signed thank you poster as part of ATC's effort to show local law enforcement that we care.

Members of the Pewaukee Police Department were presented with a signed thank you poster as part of ATC’s effort to remind local law enforcement and first responders of their importance with our communities.

As part of our ATC Ready! campaign, we wanted to give employees the opportunity to show local law enforcement and first responders that we care. We recently furnished each of our five offices with thank you posters. ATC’s Business Continuity team asked employees to sign posters and then delivered them to police departments and first responders that support each ATC office.

Benefits of this effort included:

  • Emphasizing the importance of law enforcement and first responders within our communities.
  • Providing an opportunity to expand ATC’s recognition.
  • Delivering a lasting artifact of our appreciation to law enforcement and first responders.
  • Developing/reaffirming critical relationships with local law enforcement and first responders.

ATC thanks our local police and first responders; we look forward to continued collaboration to ensure a coordinated response to emergency incidents.

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ATC to host open house for Riverside Transmission Line Project http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-to-host-open-house-for-riverside-transmission-line-project/ Wed, 26 Oct 2016 15:34:47 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6929 Proposed line would connect expanded Riverside Energy Center to electric grid

Madison, Wis. – American Transmission Co. is beginning public outreach for the proposed 345,000-volt Riverside Transmission Line Project with the first in a series of informational open houses for residents and other stakeholders in the area. Project plans include an approximately 4.5- to 6-mile, double-circuit transmission line from a planned new substation near the Alliant Energy Riverside Energy Center in the Town of Beloit to an existing 345-kV transmission line in the Town of Beloit or Town of Rock.

The project is needed to connect the expanded Riverside Energy Center to the electric transmission grid. The expanded Riverside Energy Center will include a natural gas-fueled generating station with an integrated solar installation.

“We have identified a number of preliminary corridors for the project,” said Charles Gonzales, ATC senior local relations representative. “This open house will provide property owners, local officials and other stakeholders in the area an opportunity to review project maps, ask questions and provide input on the project.”

The open house date, time and location are listed below. Members of the project team will be on hand to answer questions and share information. There will not be a formal presentation.

Tuesday, Nov. 15, 4 to 7 p.m.
Boundaries Bar & Grill, Birch Room Banquet Hall, 3807 S. Riverside Drive, Beloit

Following the open house, public input will be used to narrow the preliminary corridors to proposed routes, which will be presented at an open house in spring 2017. A formal application to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin will be filed in 2017 for authorization to construct the line. If the project is approved by the PSC, construction is expected to begin in 2018 to meet an in-service date of 2019.

A project map and up-to-date information are available at www.atc-projects.com.

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Looking for energy employees of tomorrow http://www.atcllc.com/blog/looking-for-energy-employees-of-tomorrow/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 20:44:29 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6904 As American Transmission Co. continues to grow, we continue to seek talented individuals to strengthen our team. To do so, we need to help generate interest in the energy industry.

We believe in supporting educational programs that help foster awareness of our industry and develop talented young people. We do this by offering a strong internship program, supporting college scholarships, and through involvement with middle and high school Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics programs.school-2892

To help promote jobs in our industry, ATC has joined the Wisconsin Energy Consortium. Our group brings together utilities, education and the Department of Workforce Development to address our industry’s workforce needs.

Every year, the consortium celebrates Careers in Energy Week, which will be held this year from Oct. 17 to 21. Our goal for Careers in Energy Week is to encourage students at the high school level to explore and consider careers in energy.
mje_powers_014_web
The Wisconsin Energy Workforce Consortium will host a line mechanic preview day at Milwaukee Area Technical College in Mequon on Tuesday, Oct. 18. Milwaukee area students will see demonstrations of line mechanics at work and learn more about MATC’s utilities programs.

In addition, Gov. Scott Walker has proclaimed Oct. 17 to 21 “Careers in Energy Week” and Secretary of Wisconsin Workforce Development Ray Allen will deliver the proclamation in person at the event.

As a consortium we are excited to come together to promote the many careers that make up our industry, so we can continue to have a strong pipeline of talent well into the future.

If you know of someone who is interested in a career in energy, we’re hiring! Visit our careers page for current job openings. Please help us spread the word about careers in energy by liking and sharing our LinkedIn posts, blogs and tweets.

You can also follow us (and encourage others to follow us) on Twitter and LinkedIn for regular company news and job information.

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We are on the list of America’s best workplaces … again! http://www.atcllc.com/blog/we-are-on-the-list-of-americas-best-workplaces-again/ Wed, 12 Oct 2016 21:38:06 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6881 2016-best-medium-workplaces_webAmerican Transmission Co. was named by Great Place to Work® as one of the country’s Best Small and Medium Workplaces, as announced today in Fortune. This is the third consecutive year ATC has been named to the esteemed list.

ATC won this accolade based on employees’ anonymous responses to an extensive survey about their levels of trust, pride and camaraderie at work. More than 70 percent of ATC employees participated in the survey.

Great Place to Work reviewed the survey results of more than 52,000 employees from hundreds of companies in the ranking process. Among the findings from the study: trust fuels business performance. For example, the Best Small and Medium Workplaces enjoy roughly three times the revenue growth of their peers, even as they provide a better experience for their people.

As ATC strives to be America’s premier energy delivery partner, being recognized as one of the nation’s best workplaces certainly fits our vision.

“It is an honor to be named a Great Place to Work, because it reflects the way our employees feel about working at ATC,” said ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe. “We care about our employees and we try to provide an atmosphere where everyone can thrive, both personally and professionally.”

Learn more about why ATC made the list in the Great Place to Work Great Rated! Review.

Looking for a Great Place to Work? We’re hiring. Check out our careers page.

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ATC named to Great Place to Work list for third year in a row http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-named-to-great-place-to-work-list-for-third-year-in-a-row/ Wed, 12 Oct 2016 19:51:05 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6877 American Transmission Co. was named by Great Place to Work® as one of the country’s Best Small and Medium Workplaces, as announced today in Fortune. This is the third consecutive year ATC has been named to the esteemed list.

ATC won this accolade based on employees’ anonymous responses to an extensive survey about their levels of trust, pride and camaraderie at work. Results from the survey are highly reliable, having a 95 percent confidence level and a margin of error of 5 percent or less. Great Place to Work reviewed the survey results of more than 52,000 employees from hundreds of companies in the ranking process. Among the findings from the study: trust fuels business performance. For example, the Best Small and Medium Workplaces enjoy roughly three times the revenue growth of their peers, even as they provide a better experience for their people.

As ATC strives to be America’s premier energy delivery partner, processes such as these help illustrate how ATC employees experience their workplace.

“It is an honor to be named a Great Place to Work, because it reflects the way our employees feel about working at ATC,” said ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe. “We care about our employees and we try to provide an atmosphere where everyone can thrive, both personally and professionally.”

The Best Small and Medium Workplaces is one of a series of rankings by Great Place to Work and Fortune based upon employee survey feedback from Great Place to Work-Certified™ organizations.

ATC also ranked in 2016 as a Best Workplace for Giving Back and a Great Place to Retire From by Great Place to Work and Fortune.

Fortune published the complete list of Best Small and Medium Workplaces. Click here for the entire list and here for ATC’s company profile.

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ATC 10-Year Plan calls for continued transmission investment http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-10-year-plan-calls-for-continued-transmission-investment/ Tue, 04 Oct 2016 14:12:04 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6872 Oct. 4, 2016

From: Jackie Olson

920-338-6574

jolson@atcllc.com

$3.6 billion to $4.4 billion in new projects, maintenance needed to maintain reliability

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has published its 2016 10-Year Assessment, calling for new construction and maintenance projects totaling $3.6 billion to $4.4 billion through 2025.

“We see a continuing, albeit slower, need to expand the regional electric grid, as well as to efficiently maintain and upgrade older assets,” said Ron Snead, ATC vice president of system planning. “We also anticipate continued challenges in the next 10 years as generation sources change due to the Clean Power Plan.”

The cost includes:

  • $1.3 billion in network projects — new lines or rebuilds that address specific reliability needs,
  • $0.5 billion in Multi-Value Projects — projects approved by MISO in which the benefits exceed the cost,
  • $1.4 billion in asset maintenance – lines and other facilities/equipment in need of repair or improvement based on condition and performance, and
  • $0.4 to $1.2 billion in other capital improvements.

More information is available at atc10yearplan.com.

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ATC files application to rebuild 55-mile line in northeastern Wisconsin http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-files-application-to-rebuild-55-mile-line-in-northeastern-wisconsin/ Fri, 30 Sep 2016 18:55:40 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6865 69,000-volt line runs from Green Bay to Kewaunee to Sturgeon Bay

DE PERE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has filed an application seeking approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to rebuild an aging transmission line in Brown, Kewaunee and Door counties in northeastern Wisconsin.

“The 69-kV line that runs between the Finger Road Substation in Green Bay to the Beardsley St. Substation in Kewaunee and that continues to the Canal Substation in Sturgeon Bay was built in 1951 and is in need of improvements to continue to reliably serve the area,” said David Hovde, ATC local relations consultant. “The project will provide operating flexibility and also include installation of communication wire for information technology and system protection needs.”

About 850 poles will be removed and all-new wire will be used to re-span the line on about 600 replacement poles. The line serves seven distribution substations in the area.

If approved, construction of the project would begin in fall 2017 and be completed by January 2021. Estimated cost is $61 million.

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PSC approves project to rebuild transmission line in Boscobel, Lone Rock areas http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/psc-approves-project-to-rebuild-transmission-line-in-boscobel-lone-rock-areas/ Fri, 16 Sep 2016 18:43:23 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6844 Work will improve aging infrastructure, enhance local electric reliability

MADISON, WIS. – American Transmission Co. today received approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to rebuild and reroute portions of an approximately 28-mile, 69,000-volt transmission line from Boscobel to Lone Rock, Wisconsin.

The project will involve:

  • Rebuilding approximately 25 miles of a 27.6-mile line between the Boscobel and Lone Rock substations,
  • Replacing poles and communications fiber in select areas of the remaining 2.6 miles of line; and
  • Rerouting two segments of the line (approximately 9 miles) due to existing access and maintenance concerns and environmental sensitivities.

Existing wood structures will be replaced with weathering steel structures. The line will consist of primarily single-pole structures ranging in height from 60 to 95 feet. A small portion of the line near the Wisconsin River will include H-frame structures.

“The current line was built in the 1950s and is in poor condition,” said Jon Callaway, ATC senior local relations representative. “Rebuilding the line and replacing poles will help ensure electric reliability in the area. Additionally, rerouting two segments of the line will improve access for maintenance and reduce environmental impacts.”

Construction of the approximately $32 million project is expected to start in summer 2017 with an anticipated in-service date of December 2019.

Additional project details are available on the PSC website under Docket No. 137-CE-181.

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Notes from the Field – Late Summer in Wisconsin http://www.atcllc.com/blog/notes-from-the-field-late-summer-in-wisconsin/ Wed, 14 Sep 2016 21:00:39 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6810 Editor’s note: Late summer in Wisconsin. Dew on grass, rolling green hills and a hint of autumn to come with crisp mornings, and migratory birds taking flight. Animal species are out and about, and late-blooming plants are on display, providing ample opportunities for nature lovers to explore and spot beauty around every bend.

American Transmission Co. environmental project managers traverse hills and countryside monitoring construction activities year-round. They are the eyes and ears in the field, working with contractors to ensure that we demonstrate our environmental commitment.

Our new Notes from the Field blog feature will highlight in pictures and words what our environmental project managers see while they work on projects throughout our service area. This first installment features photos and observations from Michael Warwick, ATC senior environmental project manager.

Late summer in Wisconsin along the Wisconsin River

Osprey
At first arrival, an osprey eating a fish on the structure south of the Wisconsin River flew away as I approached slowly for a better look. Osprey sightings are fewer and farther between as they have begun heading south for the winter. The osprey nest on the island tower near Portage, bustling with activity just a few weeks prior, was empty.

ospreycropweb

Frogs and turtles

Northern leopard frogs and green frogs were plentiful. Several turtle species, including painted, common map, and Ouachita map turtles, were basking on fallen logs in the river and quick to flee as I approached the river bank.

frog-on-board

leopard-frogcrop

brown-frog

two-turtles

Butterflies and Bottle Gentian
Pollinators and plants contributing to the impressive late summer color palette of the landscape.

monarch

bottle-gentian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protecting the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake

snake-exclusion-fencing-and-board-copyExclusion fencing for the Eastern Massasauga, a state endangered snake, has been placed in areas that have not been flooded out by recent rains. The rain has caused significant issues with meeting Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources snake conservation deadlines. In some areas, the depth of water exceeds the height of the yet-to-be installed snake fencing, making installation impossible. Work will continue as soon as it is practicable.

I walked along some snake exclusion areas with our licensed snake monitor and handler for this transmission line rebuild project from Portage to Prairie du Sac. No snakes observed. A number of snake cover boards had been placed in the snake habitat areas earlier in the day. These boards must lay in place untouched for 2 weeks, then checked for snakes six times over the course of 2 to 3 weeks, with any snakes relocated to non-work areas, prior to placing mats or starting work in the area.

All of these mitigation measures were required after the Eastern Massasauga was spotted by a Wisconsin DNR volunteer earlier this spring, making it the first confirmed sighting of the snake in the project vicinity since 1976.

 

warwickcropMichael Warwick is a senior environmental project manager at ATC. Prior to joining ATC he worked as an environmental consultant conducting tree and plant surveys, wetland delineation, GIS, project planning, community planning and permitting. He previously worked at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with a focus on waterway monitoring and studies, and wetland and waterway permit reviews.

Michael earned a Bachelor of Science degree in conservation and environmental sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is currently certified by Wisconsin DNR as an Endangered Resources Reviewer and is a member of the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) Outreach Committee. He volunteers his time guiding annual natural resources-based educational field trips for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

 

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Mount Calvary, Wis. woman wins $5,000 in landscaping from ATC’s Grow Smart® Sweepstakes http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/mount-calvary-wis-woman-wins-5000-in-landscaping-from-atcs-grow-smart-sweepstakes/ Wed, 14 Sep 2016 15:33:51 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6806 Media note: Members of the media are invited to the final phase of the landscaping work on Sept. 15 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Maggie and Steve McCullough, as well as nationally known horticulturist and gardening expert Melinda Myers, will be available for interviews. Please contact Jackie Olson at 877-506-6117 for additional details and the address.

PEWAUKEE, WIS. — When Maggie McCullough of Mount Calvary, Wis., first learned about the possibility of winning $5,000 worth of landscaping through American Transmission Co.’s Grow Smart® Sweepstakes, she didn’t think about winning; she entered to get a free garden kneeling pad that was offered for each household’s entry. “I never thought we’d actually win,” she said. But McCullough was the lucky winner, and now an entire new area of landscaping is being installed at the Mount Calvary home she shares with her husband, Steve.

ATC held the Grow Smart Sweepstakes as a way to continue educating the public about its Grow Smart program. The program helps property owners and communities identify low-growing, beautiful vegetation that can be planted the smart way – a safe distance from transmission line rights-of-way.

The sweepstakes targeted property owners who have an ATC easement, and who also had vegetation management work performed by ATC on their property in 2015. Eligible households were notified through a postcard mailing earlier this year that they could enter to win $5,000 in landscaping for their property, as well as a two-hour personal consultation with horticulturist and gardening expert Melinda Myers to discuss ideas and visions for what could be done with the landscape (including compatible, low-growing species and other Grow Smart options).The winner was drawn at random from more than 65 entries.

“We are delighted that Maggie and Steve are the winners,” said Anne Spaltholz, ATC’s director of Corporate Communications. “We have learned that they both love gardening and landscaping, and have worked for years to make their property beautiful and natural, reflecting the nature that’s around them.”

This summer, the McCulloughs met with Myers and representatives from Stuart’s Landscaping and Garden Center of Fond du Lac to discuss best practices and Grow Smart compatible plantings for their yard. The McCulloughs chose to landscape an area close to their house that is common to many homes: a steep incline with an exposed, walkout basement. But they also wanted to make sure the landscaping was complementary to other areas on their property.

Maggie McCullough explains, “We have 38 acres of land with a river, wetlands, a hill and woods. Around the house we’ve done a lot of naturalizing with perennials. We’ve tried to create a really good environment for the wildlife around here. In addition to the more formal perennial beds that are around the house, we also have two prairies on our land; one of which is actually underneath the power lines. It’s in keeping with ATC’s philosophy of using the low-growing perennial plants and flowers. They’ll never get tall enough to create any problems with the power lines.”

Stuart’s Landscaping developed a landscape plan for the McCulloughs that features terracing and native vegetation similar to that in the established prairie on their property. The landscaping work will take place (weather permitting) at the McCullough’s home on Sept. 14 and 15, 2016.

“The McCulloughs are really modeling what Grow Smart is all about,” added Myers. “Investing time up front to create an appropriate and beautiful landscape pays off with years of beauty and less ongoing maintenance. On behalf of the Grow Smart program, we congratulate them.”

To learn more about ATC’s Grow Smart program, go to: www.atc-GrowSmart.com.

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American Transmission Co. files application with Illinois Commerce Commission for new transmission line and substation http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-files-application-with-illinois-commerce-commission-for-new-transmission-line-and-substation/ Wed, 31 Aug 2016 16:05:07 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6776 Project will provide electric reliability to southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. today filed an application with the Illinois Commerce Commission seeking approval for the Wisconsin-Illinois Electric Reliability Project.

Components of this project include: constructing a double-circuit, 345,000-volt transmission line to connect to an existing line in southern Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and connecting that line to the ComEd transmission system in Illinois through a proposed substation on the north side of Rosecrans Road (Hwy. 173) in the Village of Wadsworth.

The 3- to 5-mile transmission line would provide a reliable, alternative power path to address the potential risk of cascading outages under certain operating conditions, and also would accommodate the increasing power flows occurring from Wisconsin to Illinois.

“The ICC will conduct a comprehensive review of ATC’s application for the transmission line and substation, including the two proposed route options,” said Barbara Mikolajczyk, ATC project manager. “The regulatory review process in Illinois also includes technical and public hearings anticipated in early 2017, with a final decision expected in spring 2017. The ICC will notify local residents and businesses of the dates and times of the hearings, which provide the public an opportunity to make their concerns known to the decision makers.”

ATC also is required to file an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for the northern portion of the proposed transmission line. That filing is anticipated to occur in November 2016.

The project is estimated to cost $55 million to $66 million. If approved, construction would begin in spring 2020 to meet an in-service date later that same year. Additional information, including the application, can be found on the ICC’s website.

Note to editors: A map of the project can be found here and additional information about ATC and our projects can be found at: atc-projects.com.

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Crews to use light-duty helicopter for Badger Coulee Project http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/crews-to-use-light-duty-helicopter-for-badger-coulee-project/ Tue, 30 Aug 2016 14:55:53 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6773 Work slated to begin this week from Town of Middleton to Town of Vienna

MADISON, Wis. – A helicopter will be used beginning this week to assist construction crews with work along Segment 1 of the Badger Coulee Project.

Helicopter crews will begin pulling wires along the line beginning this week. The route generally follows the existing 138,000-volt line in this area.

“Residents can expect to see a light-duty helicopter flying approximately 100 feet above the ground along the line,” said Charles Gonzales, ATC senior local relations representative.

Use of helicopters will decrease construction time and minimize environmental impacts to the area. The flight schedule will vary and is subject to change based on weather.

Construction activities on this segment began earlier this year and are expected to conclude in spring 2017. Right-of-way restoration work in this area is scheduled to be completed in summer 2017.

Note to editors: A map of Construction Segment 1 can be found here.

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Managing vegetation with help from above http://www.atcllc.com/blog/managing-vegetation-with-help-from-above/ Thu, 18 Aug 2016 18:57:52 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6745 Helicopters equipped with aerial saws are used to trim vegetation near some ATC lines.

A helicopter equipped with an aerial saw is used to trim vegetation near some ATC lines.

At American Transmission Co., our job is to safely and reliably operate the area transmission system, and we take that responsibility seriously. An important part of that involves managing the vegetation around our transmission facilities to prevent outages, and with more than 9,540 miles of transmission lines, that’s no small job.

One unique approach we take is to get help from above – help from a helicopter, that is. Yes, you read that right. We use a light utility helicopter equipped with a heavy-duty aerial saw to trim the vegetation near some of our lines. Rotary saw blades are suspended on a 90- to 100-foot vertical boom that is attached to the helicopter.

The helicopter/aerial saw combination is particularly effective in areas where difficult terrain and wetlands make it challenging for ground crews to access the transmission line corridor. This technique is also very efficient, as the helicopter crew is able to complete in just a few hours what would take a ground-based crew several days to accomplish.

We manage the growth of trees and other vegetation near our high-voltage lines in five-year cycles, and this summer, an air saw-equipped helicopter crew is trimming vegetation along lines in Wisconsin between Baraboo and Spring Green; Montfort, Cassville and Platteville; and Darlington and Monroe.

Rotary saw blades are suspended on a vertical boom attached to the helicopter.

Rotary saw blades are suspended on a vertical boom attached to the helicopter.

Want to know more? Check out our YouTube channel for video footage of similar vegetation management work, and read a recent news story about aerial saw work in southeastern Wisconsin.

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Aerial tree trimming planned for western Wisconsin http://www.atcllc.com/news/aerial-tree-trimming-planned-for-western-wisconsin/ Mon, 15 Aug 2016 17:02:34 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6731 Helicopter, air saw to be used along transmission line

MADISON, Wis. – A helicopter and heavy-duty air saw will be used beginning this week to trim trees along two existing 138,000-volt transmission lines from Montfort to Cassville and Cassville to Platteville.

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 and 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 crew can in a few hours,” said Joe Benzschawel, ATC vegetation management specialist. “It could take two weeks for the aerial saw to complete work in this area since flight schedules are weather-dependent.”

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 9,540 miles of transmission lines in five-year cycles.

Note to editors: A map indicating the planned aerial saw work can be found here. Video footage of similar vegetation management work can be found on our YouTube page. This routine vegetation management is not related to the proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek Project.

 

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ATC energizes new 138,000-volt transmission line in Upper Michigan http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-energizes-new-138000-volt-transmission-line-in-upper-michigan/ Mon, 15 Aug 2016 16:44:19 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6729 Holmes-Old Mead Road project will boost area electric reliability

DE PERE, Wis. – After years of planning, regulatory review and construction, a 58-mile transmission line has been placed in service between the Holmes Substation in Menominee County and the Old Mead Road Substation in Escanaba, Mich.

The project is designed to help address the unique needs of the electricity supply system in the area. “Putting this new transmission line into service will greatly benefit our customers throughout the region,” said Brett French, ATC external affairs manager. “The project reflects ATC’s commitment to invest in strengthening the U.P.’s electric transmission system.”

The western half of the route shares a corridor with an existing transmission line, and the eastern half is located along an abandoned railroad corridor owned by the state. The state departments of Transportation and Natural Resources played a key role in coordinating the eastern section of the line. ATC built a multipurpose recreational trail in the rail corridor between Hermansville and Wells Township, which will be turned over to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources when completed later this fall.

The authorized cost for the project was $120 million; the project was completed on time and under budget.

 

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Aerial tree trimming planned for Baraboo, Spring Green areas http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/aerial-tree-trimming-planned-for-baraboo-spring-green-areas/ Fri, 05 Aug 2016 19:38:06 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6716 Helicopter, air saw to be used along transmission line

MADISON, Wis. – A helicopter and heavy-duty air saw will be used beginning next week to trim trees along an existing 138,000-volt transmission line from Baraboo to Spring Green.

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 and 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 crew can in a few hours,” said Joe Benzschawel, ATC vegetation management specialist. “Since the work is weather-dependent, it could take two weeks for the aerial saw to complete the vegetation maintenance in this area.”

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 9,540 miles of transmission lines in five-year cycles.

Note to editors: A map indicating the planned aerial saw work is available here. Video footage of similar vegetation management work can be found on our YouTube page. This routine vegetation management is not related to the Badger Coulee Project.

 

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Low-growing vegetation aids butterflies, keeps rights-of-way compatible http://www.atcllc.com/blog/low-growing-vegetation-aids-butterflies-keeps-rights-of-way-compatible/ Mon, 01 Aug 2016 20:02:16 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6704 Transmission line corridors in central Wisconsin are prime habitat for the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly.

Karner Blue butterfly perched on a stalk of grass.

Karner blue butterfly

The larvae of these butterflies feed only on wild lupine plants, severely restricting where they can survive. We are among a group of more than 30 public and private landowners working to protect the species through habitat conservation plans.

Common milkweed is an additional species of vegetation that ATC advocates for and plants in our rights-of-way. Milkweed provides the depleting Monarch butterfly population with their primary food source. Check out the Grow Smart planting guide for suggestions on additional low-growing options that help the pollinators and keep the vegetation compatible within the rights-of-way.

 

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Kids enjoy Summer Saunters on the Ice Age Trail http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/kids-enjoy-summer-saunters-on-the-ice-age-trail/ Fri, 22 Jul 2016 16:57:30 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6534 The Ice Age Trail Alliance Summer Saunters program provides an opportunity for kids to learn about the state’s glacial, cultural and natural history while hiking and exploring along the trail. American Transmission Co. partnered with the Alliance this year to help make Milwaukee Saunters a reality. The program takes youth on five unique hikes on the Trail within 1.5 hours of Milwaukee. We visited them as they spent a day at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha Field Station.

More information about the Ice Age Trail Alliance Summer Saunters program is available here.

Kids find native coneflowers on a scavenger hunt at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha Field Station.

Kids find native coneflowers on a scavenger hunt at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha Field Station.

Saunterers hard at work drawing things they saw along the Ice Age Trail.

Saunterers hard at work drawing things they saw along the Ice Age Trail.

Insect investigations help kids get up close to learn about the little creatures they find along the Trail.

Insect investigations help kids get up close to learn about the little creatures they find along the Trail.

 

 

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ATC, Xcel Energy to host pre-construction open house for Segment 3 of Badger Coulee Project http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-xcel-energy-to-host-pre-construction-open-house-for-segment-3-of-badger-coulee-project/ Fri, 15 Jul 2016 14:37:10 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6525 Construction work set to begin this summer for area from Town of Caledonia to Wisconsin Dells

MADISON, Wis. – American Transmission Co. and Xcel Energy are continuing a multi-year public outreach process for the 180-mile, 345-kilovolt Badger Coulee Project with a pre-construction open house on July 21 in Lake Delton.

“Landowners who may be affected by construction and members of the public are welcome to attend this pre-construction open house,” said Charles Gonzales, ATC senior local relations representative. “This event will provide an opportunity for people to learn what to expect in terms of equipment, timing and appearance of the line,” said Gonzales.

The public is invited to attend the July 21 pre-construction open house from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Kay C. Mackesey Administration Building-Village of Lake Delton, 50 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy South, Lake Delton. There will not be a formal presentation. Construction activities, including right-of-way clearing, placing protective mats and installing foundations, are scheduled to begin this summer.

After more than five years of public involvement and regulatory review, ATC and Xcel Energy received approval in April 2015 from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to construct the $580 million project from north of La Crosse to northern Dane County. The project will address electric system reliability issues locally and in the Midwest, provide economic savings and support renewable energy policy. Work will generally be conducted from east to west with a planned in-service date of 2018.

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Note to editors: A project map and additional information is available at www.BadgerCoulee.com.

 

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A perfect spot to nest http://www.atcllc.com/blog/a-perfect-spot-to-nest/ Thu, 14 Jul 2016 16:08:22 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6520 BirdsLast week, one of our crews found what appear to be Kestrel chicks inside a woodpecker hole on a pole that was scheduled to be replaced near Wautoma, Wis. The pole will be left in place until the chicks fledge. Great catch by M.J. Electric!

 

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ATC welcomes summer interns http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-welcomes-summer-interns/ Thu, 09 Jun 2016 19:10:22 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6472 If it seems like the parking lots at the Pewaukee, Madison Fen Oak and Cottage Grove offices are a little more full than usual lately, it’s because they are.

Twenty-one interns have started at the three American Transmission Co. offices since May 23 and come from a diverse set of backgrounds.

Some, like Brett B., system protection intern in Cottage Grove, and Margaret D., West Portfolio engineering intern in Madison, have worked for ATC in the past. Others like Mackenzie A., substation services intern in Pewaukee, are here for the first time.

Brett Beisbier

Brett B.

Brett is in his third year at ATC after spending last summer in Madison and a co-op in 2014. He is a senior electrical engineering major at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and in his first few weeks he has been working on validating relay settings for substations and understanding why some cap switchers operate more frequently than others.

He came back to ATC because of the people and the knowledge he gained in his first and second internships.

“I learned in my first co-op here that I was well ahead of my peers because of the information I’ve been getting here,” said Brett.

He plans to give ATC a “strong look” when he’s looking for a job next spring.

He advised new interns to ask as many questions as possible and get to know co-workers outside of work.

“No question is too big or too small,” said Brett. “Everyone here is more than helpful.”

Margaret Donnell

Margaret D.

Margaret is spending her summer in the Madison office after working in Pewaukee last year. She is majoring in civil engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison and will graduate in May 2017.

This summer she is working on transmission line projects in the West Portfolio after working on substation projects last summer.

“I really liked what I did last year and wanted to get a different perspective and see a new office,” said Margaret.

She said she would like to work in Wisconsin for a company where she can develop as an engineer after she graduates.

Her advice to interns is simple: “Carry around a note pad and write down any terminology you don’t understand so you can look it up later.”

Mackenzie A.

Mackenzie A.

Mackenzie, a senior electrical engineer at Valparaiso University, wants figure out if her future is in electrical or electronic engineering this summer.

She has been modeling ground grids to determine if they are safe for substations.

Mackenzie said she was attracted to ATC because of the location (she’s from the area) and the job duties meshed with her possible career aspirations.

She has enjoyed her first few weeks on the job, especially the people on her team.

“The people I work with are funny and easy to get along with,” said Mackenzie. “They’re checking up on me to make sure everything is going well.”

Be on the lookout for these key intern dates:

  • June 20 – Substation tour and presentation training
  • July 21 – United Way Intern Day of Action
  • August 8 to 9 – Intern presentations
  • August 17 – Intern Open House and Cookout
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June is National Safety Month http://www.atcllc.com/blog/june-is-national-safety-month/ Thu, 02 Jun 2016 15:47:30 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6463 ATC 6572Each June, National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the roads and in our homes and communities. American Transmission Co. recognizes safety as one of its company values and strives to provide awareness to employees and their families.

The National Safety Council provides a theme for each week of National Safety Month. For example, the week of June 5 is “Stand Ready to Respond,” and features a poster, tip sheets and other articles related to the weekly theme.

More information on National Safety Month and weekly themes can be found here.

Lightning myths and facts to keep you safe

The weather has finally started to heat up and hot and humid summer days can often produce violent thunderstorms.

New transmission lines are built with grounded shield wires along the top of the poles, above the conductors, to protect the line from lightning. Like trees and other tall objects, transmission poles are likely to intercept lightning strikes, but they do not attract lightning.

Here are some myths and facts about lightning courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association:

  • Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning.
  • Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud.
  • Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
  • Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit nearly 100 times a year.
  • Myth: If you are in a house, you are 100 percent safe from lightning.
  • Fact: A house is a safe place to be during a thunderstorm as long as you avoid anything that conducts electricity. This means staying off corded phones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, computers, plumbing, metal doors and windows. Windows are hazardous for two reasons: wind generated during a thunderstorm can blow objects into the window, breaking it and causing glass to shatter and, in older homes, in rare instances, lightning can come in cracks in the sides of windows.
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ATC continues Community Planting Program to fund tree planting http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-continues-community-planting-program-to-fund-tree-planting/ Wed, 01 Jun 2016 19:20:39 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6460 Program offers communities financial support for planting projects on public property

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. will begin accepting applications on June 1 for its Community Planting Program, which provides financial support for planting projects on public property to eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes in ATC’s service area.

Now in its fourth year, the program is targeted toward communities where ATC transmission facilities exist. Since its inception, ATC has awarded nearly $190,000 to 131 eligible municipalities and counties.

To qualify, communities must commit that all current and future planting plans and urban forestry activities near high-voltage electric transmission lines will comply with ATC’s maintenance standards. “Trees and transmission lines are an unsafe combination,” said Mark Davis, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Applying for funding through the Community Planting Program gives communities across our service area an opportunity to beautify their public space. By planting trees and other vegetation outside of the transmission line rights-of-way, these communities help ATC keep the transmission lines safe and reliable.”

ATC is accepting applications through Sept. 30, and award recipients will be selected and announced by the end of the year. ATC will accept one application per community, and the awards range from $100 to $5,000. The Community Planting Program is part of the Grow Smart initiative, which is directed toward individual landowners and advocates planting low-growing, native vegetation in transmission line rights-of-way. Additional information, including a brochure and eligibility information, is available on ATC’s Grow Smart website at atc-GrowSmart.com.

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Party for the Planet draws thousands to celebrate events sponsored by American Transmission Co. http://www.atcllc.com/blog/party-for-the-planet-draws-thousands-to-celebrate-events-sponsored-by-american-transmission-co/ Mon, 23 May 2016 21:15:12 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6448 ATC sponsored the Milwaukee County Zoo’s Party for the Planet for the eleventh year on May 14 and 15, which featured three different activities that drew in nearly 10,000 visitors to the Zoo.

ATC Zoo 4997The theme of this year’s event focused on pollinator education and the Grow Smart program, which advocates planting low-growing, native species under power lines. One event featured a child-friendly pollinator game to help visitors ATC Zoo 5036understand the benefits of pollinators and offered children the opportunity to mark their fingerprints on pollinator-shaped art.

Gardening expert and horticulturist Melinda Myers also was on site, assisting children and their families by planting native species at the ATC-sponsored Butterfly Garden. The garden was established in 2015 by ATC in an effort to attract pollinators, and visitors this year helped ATC Zoo 5125revitalize the garden by planting additional perennials and flowering annuals.

In coordination with the Milwaukee County Zoo Forester and other volunteers, Slinger Boy Scout Troop #731 braved unseasonably cool spring temperatureATC Zoo 4786s to plant more than 50 trees and shrubs near Lake Evinrude. This is the third year that ATC has provided support to the Zoo for removing damaged and invasive species on the Zoo’s property. Funding also is used toward replacing the invasive species with native trees and shrubs.

Despite the cool weather, much of the success for the ATC-sponsored events was due to the nearly dozen ATC employee volunteers who provided assistance to visitors at the event over the weekend.

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May is National Electrical Safety Month http://www.atcllc.com/blog/may-is-national-electrical-safety-month/ Thu, 12 May 2016 20:00:19 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6435 May is National Electrical Safety MonthHow much do you know about your home’s electrical system and the devices that run on it? The Electrical Safety Foundation International recommends a home electrical inspection if:

  • Your home is more than 40 years old,
  • You purchase a previously lived in home,
  • Your home has undergone a major renovation, or
  • You have added major new appliances in the last 10 years.

Visit a virtual home to take an electrical safety tour at the ESFI website: http://virtualhome.esfi.org

For more information on National Electrical Safety Month, click here.

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Statement regarding helicopter crash in Manitowoc County, Wis. http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/statement-regarding-helicopter-crash-in-manitowoc-county-wis/ Wed, 04 May 2016 17:02:37 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6426 11:55 a.m.
DEPERE, Wis. –  American Transmission Co. has received word of a helicopter crash near the intersection of Marquette Road and Sandy Road near Reedsville, Wis. The helicopter was involved in stringing wire along an ATC transmission line between the Point Beach Nuclear Plant and the Forest Junction Substation.

The helicopter is owned by Rotor Blade,LLC, which is a subcontractor for Henkels & McCoy. Rotor Blade is a South Carolina-based company that provides helicopter services to the utilities industry.

An internal team has been assembled to respond to the emergency at the scene to support an investigation of the accident.

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Communities across ATC’s service area are ‘digging’ Arbor Day http://www.atcllc.com/blog/communities-across-atcs-service-area-are-digging-arbor-day/ Fri, 29 Apr 2016 17:26:03 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6404 _DSC3051Ah…Arbor Day. It doesn’t invoke nearly the same zeal as Labor Day or Memorial Day, though perhaps it should. Arbor Day originated in Nebraska in 1872, where it’s estimated that approximately one million trees were initially planted to commemorate it.

_DSC3035While their numbers won’t reach millions, the cities of De Pere and Stevens Point, Wis., have planted dozens of trees in their communities to mark the day and the funding they received from ATC through our Community Planting Program, which is part of ATC’s Grow Smart® initiative.

Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza was aided by local third graders in planting ten trees on a city boulevard. In De Pere, students from a local elementary school partnered with the city par_DSC3041ks department to plant 12 fruit trees on the school’s property.

Thirty-seven other communities received funding in 2015 for a total of $60,000 through the Community Planting Program, which is now in its fourth year. To qualify, communities must apply and agree to plant the trees and other vegetation outside of high-voltage transmission line rights-of-way and commit to complying with ATC’s maintenance standards for all current and future planting plans.

By making their communities greener, they’re also doing their part to keep the lights on – just by planting their trees away from power lines.

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American Transmission Co. named one of the country’s best workplaces for giving back http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-named-one-of-the-countrys-best-workplaces-for-giving-back/ Tue, 26 Apr 2016 21:36:05 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6397 American Transmission Co. is featured on the list of 50 Best Workplaces for Giving Back according to the consulting firm Great Place to Work® and Fortune magazine.

Great Place to Work® analyzed surveys from nearly 600 companies to rank those that best create a sense of purpose and meaning among their employees through involvement in the community. Not only do these workplaces stand out for their generosity, their team members also express a great deal of pride in what their organizations accomplish.

“This recognition is particularly gratifying. ATC employees have proven to be generous in their time and resources for making a difference in the communities we serve,” said ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe. “I appreciate employees who volunteer throughout the year for our days of caring or their personal passions. I also appreciate employees’ support of our United Way campaigns and for donating to organizations that are further supported through our Matching Gifts Program. I am grateful to be among employees who genuinely care and take the time to give back.”

In the spirit of giving back, ATC will donate $1,000 to a non-profit organization chosen by employees in each county where its offices are located: Brown County, Dane County, Dickinson County and Waukesha County.

“The Best Workplaces for Giving Back demonstrate more than just a commitment to charity,” said Kim Peters, executive vice president at Great Place to Work®. “These organizations have earned employees’ admiration by involving staffers in their community service efforts and contributing resources in ways that genuinely reflect their unique cultures.”

ATC and the other winning companies were selected based on responses to the Trust Index©, Great Place to Work’s employee assessment survey. Employees rated their sense that they make a difference in their jobs, the meaningfulness of their work, and the impact they feel their organizations make in the community. The list also took into account company programs and an analysis of anonymous employee comments about their workplaces.

The Best Workplaces for Giving Back is one of a series of rankings by Great Place to Work® and Fortune based upon employee survey feedback from Great Place to Work®-certified organizations.

Last fall, ATC also ranked among the nation’s top-25 medium-sized Great Places to Work as published in Fortune.

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American Transmission Co. named a Top Workplace in southeastern Wisconsin for fourth year http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-named-a-top-workplace-in-southeastern-wisconsin-for-fourth-year/ Fri, 22 Apr 2016 21:12:54 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6394 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces list ranks ATC number 3

PEWAUKEE, WIS. — American Transmission Co., owner and operator of the electric transmission grid in portions of the Upper Midwest, has been selected as one of the 2016 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin. This is the seventh year the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has published the list of top area workplaces, and this is the fourth time ATC has been nominated and named to the list. This year, ATC is number 3 on the list of midsize companies, up from its number 4 position last year.

The top workplaces are determined based on feedback from an employee survey conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, an organizational health and employee engagement research firm. ATC scored well above its peer organizations in the electric utility industry when it comes to efficiency and being open to new ideas.

“People learn, grow and stay here to enjoy our spirited one-team culture that values collaboration and innovation,” said ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe. “Being honored as a top workplace is credit to our employees, who are among the best in our industry.”

Last fall, ATC also ranked among the nation’s top-25 medium-sized Great Places to Work as published in FORTUNE magazine. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will publish its complete list of top workplaces this weekend.

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ATC named to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplace list http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-named-to-milwaukee-journal-sentinel-top-workplace-list/ Fri, 22 Apr 2016 14:45:01 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6383 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces list ranks ATC No. 3

ATC_Planning
American Transmission Co. has been selected as one of the 2016 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin for the third consecutive year.

This is the seventh year the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has published the list of top area workplaces, and the fourth time ATC has been nominated and named to the list. This year, ATC is number 3 on the list of midsize companies, up from its number 4 position last year.

The top workplaces are determined based on feedback from an employee survey conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, an organizational health and employee engagement research firm. ATC scored well above its peer organizations in the electric utility industry when it comes to efficiency and being open to new ideas.

“People learn, grow and stay here to enjoy our spirited one-team culture that values collaboration and innovation,” said ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe. “Being honored as a top workplace is credit to our employees, who are among the best in our industry.”

Last fall, ATC also ranked among the nation’s top-25 medium-sized Great Places to Work as published in FORTUNE magazine. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will publish its complete list of top workplaces this weekend.

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ATC releases 2015 Annual Report http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-releases-2015-annual-report/ Tue, 22 Mar 2016 15:04:11 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6326 Features best-in-class operations, community involvement, environmental stewardship

ATC’s 2015 annual report is now in print and available for viewing at our website.

The report highlights the year’s accomplishments in operations, construction, maintenance, environmental stewardship, community outreach and financial performance. It has some pretty pictures, too.

In his introductory letter, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board Mike Rowe notes the hallmarks of the ATC organization: collaboration, innovation and leadership. ATC routinely collaborates with other transmission owners and stakeholders to assure reliable, economic and efficient planning for the build out of the regional grid. We also have worked with six utilities in the Railbelt region of Alaska to form a transmission company patterned after our business model. With a focus on innovation, Rowe notes that a team dedicated to overseeing internal projects to create efficiency, streamline processes and reduce costs has already achieve nearly a half-million dollars in cost savings. And our leadership is recognized by garnering the Great Place to Work® designation from FORTUNE magazine for the second year in a row.

To view a copy of the report, click here.

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PSC approves Spring Valley-North Lake Geneva project http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/psc-signals-approval-for-23-mile-138000-volt-transmission-line-and-new-substation-in-southeast-wisconsin/ Thu, 03 Mar 2016 20:46:13 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6280 Spring Valley-North Lake Geneva Electric Reliability Project expected to be in-service summer 2019

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin today approved a new transmission line project between the Town of Salem and the City of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. At an open meeting, the commissioners confirmed the need for the Spring Valley-North Lake Geneva Electric Reliability Project and approved Proposed Route 1, the blue route, submitted by ATC in its application filed in April 2015.

“With input from the public, our project team evaluated more than 200 miles of route segments during the routing and siting process,” said Doug Berton, ATC project manager. “That thorough review led to a project and decision by the PSC that will provide a significant improvement in the electric reliability of the transmission system that serves the area and supports the economic growth that’s been increasing over the last several years.”

The project was announced in early 2013 and includes a new substation, called Balsam, located on the north side of County Highway 50 in the Town of Wheatland, and a new approximately 23-mile, 138,000-volt transmission line from the existing North Lake Geneva Substation in southern Walworth County to the existing Spring Valley Substation in western Kenosha County. An additional approximately 4-mile, 69-kV transmission line will be built to connect the new Balsam Substation to the existing Twin Lakes Substation in Twin Lakes.

“We will continue to work with landowners and communities as we move into the pre-construction phase of the project,” said Berton.

The project is estimated to cost $70.6 million. The PSC’s final order for the project is anticipated to be issued within the month. Construction is projected to begin in summer 2017, with an in-service date of summer 2019.

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ATC announces nine promotions http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-announces-nine-promotions/ Tue, 01 Mar 2016 17:36:51 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6260 Roehr, Paul-web

Paul Roehr

Rusch, Bob-web

Bob Rusch

In recognition of sustained business growth, American Transmission Co. has expanded its leadership team. Paul Roehr has been named vice president, system operations; Robert Rusch has been named vice president, finance and accounting; and seven managers have been elevated to director positions.

Roehr joined ATC in 2008 as director of reliability and interconnections after nearly 20 years at Madison Gas and Electric Co. He became director of system operations in 2011, and is now responsible for overseeing real-time operations, forward operations, energy management systems and corporate security. Roehr, a registered Professional Engineer, earned a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Business Administration from Edgewood College.

Rusch joined ATC in 2008 after 17 years of service in treasury, risk management, finance and operations at Alliant Energy/Wisconsin Power and Light. At ATC, he is responsible for all aspects of treasury, financial planning, general accounting, tax, and financial reporting and analysis. Rusch is a Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Public Accountant. He earned his bachelor’s degree and Master of Business Administration from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Seven managers were promoted to directors: Greg Levesque, environmental and local relations; Randy Karls, customer relations and interconnection services; Bob McKee, regulatory relations and policy; Roger Ripp, project controls office; Duane Schoon, asset maintenance and commissioning; Anne Spaltholz, corporate communications; and Jim Vespalec, asset planning and engineering.

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ATC honored for living United http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-honored-for-living-united/ Mon, 29 Feb 2016 23:27:38 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6245 2016_0224_Brown County UW award_web

ATC’s Jackie Olson, corporate communications consultant, second from left, and COO Mark Davis, second from right, accepted a Brown County United Way leadership award on behalf of ATC from campaign chair, Mike Bettiga, far left, and Greg Maass, president and CEO of Brown County United Way, far right.

Wisconsin’s Brown County United Way recently honored American Transmission Co. with with the Best Company Leadership/CEO Support award for our 2015 campaign. The organization recognized both Chief Operating Officer Mark Davis and CEO Mike Rowe for their involvement and enthusiasm for United Way, and for our increase in employee participation over the previous year.

Davis and Rowe personally visited all five company locations to kick off the campaign. At each site, their enthusiasm for United Way and their remarks were heartfelt and motivational.

The two were recognized specifically for their efforts to incorporate the ATC value of “fun” into the 2015 campaign, including the company-wide bag-toss tournament dubbed the United Way Throwdown. The events resulted in a 46 percent participation rate in United Way giving, meaning that with the company match, we contributed more than $150,000 to local campaigns.

2016_FTC_Warming up_web

Our United Way and Milwaukee Bucks Free Throw Challenge team warming up before taking it to the line.

ATC’s excellent participation in the 2015 United Way campaign also earned us the privilege to compete in the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and Milwaukee Bucks Free Throw Challenge at the Mary Ryan Boys and Girls Club in Milwaukee, Wis. Our team made it through a tough tie-breaker in the first round. After a valiant effort at the line, we were edged out in the second round, but we did get kudos from United Way for being the best-dressed team at the event.

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American Transmission Co. proposes electric reliability project for southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-proposes-electric-reliability-project-for-southeast-wisconsin-and-northeast-illinois/ Fri, 26 Feb 2016 16:24:30 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6233 Residents can provide input on new power line and substation at March 16 public open house

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. is proposing a project to address an electric reliability issue that occurs when there are high power flows on the transmission system from Wisconsin into Illinois. The proposed Wisconsin-Illinois Reliability Project would provide a reliable, alternative power path to address emergency conditions and accommodate increased power flows. The project components include: constructing a double-circuit 345-kilovolt transmission line to connect to an existing line near Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and connecting that line to the ComEd transmission system through a proposed substation area on the north side of Rosecrans Road (Hwy. 173) in the village of Wadsworth, Ill.

ATC will host a public open house from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16, at the Thunderhawk Golf Club, 39700 N. Lewis Ave., Beach Park, Ill. The open house gives local residents and other stakeholders the opportunity to learn about the proposed project and substation location, and to provide feedback about the project. This open house will be the first of three public open houses; subsequent meetings will be held in Illinois later this spring.

“The existing transmission lines between Wisconsin and Illinois are designed to transport a limited amount of power, but the amount of electricity moving between the two states has increased significantly in the last five years,” said Barbara Mikolajczyk, ATC major project manager. “When those lines become heavily loaded, there’s a substantial risk for widespread, cascading outages. This project would alleviate that risk by providing increased reliability for this area.”

The transmission line could range from three to five miles in length, and depending on the route selected is estimated to cost between $52 million to $63 million. Regulatory applications will be submitted to the Illinois Commerce Commission in mid-2016 and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in fall 2016. A decision from each of the regulatory agencies is expected in early 2017 and fall 2017, respectively.

More information including a project map can be found on the project web page at atc-projects.com.

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National Engineers Week: ATC engineers share their stories http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/national-engineers-week-atc-engineers-share-their-stories/ Mon, 22 Feb 2016 15:00:19 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6213 ATC is powered by engineers of several different disciplines. From electrical to civil, computer to industrial, we salute our engineers for helping us plan, design, build, maintain and keep our data secure to help keep the lights on.

In honor of National Engineers Week, we asked a few of our engineers to tell us why engineering is the field for them.

2016_NEW_Singh_Ruchi_5x7

Ruchi S., senior transmission planning engineer

“I’m an electrical power systems engineer. I grew up in India where if you are a good student you are expected to take up math and science and are expected to become either an engineer or doctor. I really wanted to be a doctor growing up, but to do that you have to sit for competitive exams where only a few hundred are selected from a pool of a million students. I ended up succeeding in both of the exams, but I didn’t get into the mainstream medical field. Instead I ended up making the cut into dental sciences and electrical engineering. I opted for the latter, which I thought was cooler than having to fix people’s teeth. That’s how I became an engineer and I have loved it ever since. I also have bragging rights since I am the first and only female engineer in my immediate and extended family.

“The thing I love most about being an engineer, specifically a power systems engineer, is that I am able to contribute towards ensuring that people can have access to one of the basic necessities of modern life, electricity, and that in itself is very gratifying. It’s a career that has taught me to constantly innovate and be in constant learning mode and is a career which  pays well and makes me financially independent.”

2016_NEW_Hicks_Greg_5x7

Greg H., asset support engineer

“I am an industrial engineer. I decided to become an engineer because I always enjoyed tinkering, problem-solving and figuring out how things work (and to prove to my high school calculus teacher that I really could do it!).  Marquette University had a young scholars program that I participated in in high school that gave prospective students a taste of the various engineering disciplines they offered. I enjoyed the industrial engineering curriculum because of the variety of work that IE’s do, from making operating room scheduling at hospitals more efficient to making factories more productive to helping electric utilities operate better.

“What I enjoy most about being an engineer is that each day brings a new challenge which requires continuous learning. The great thing about being an engineer at ATC is that the company supports continual learning by supporting formal training, but also through the informal transfer of knowledge to and from the other engineers with whom I work. I am always amazed at the level engineering expertise at this company and the willingness of those who share it.”

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Barbara M., major project manager

“I am a civil engineer with an emphasis in transportation. My dad was a civil engineer for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and he was very good at what he did. I realized early on in college that the money was better in the engineering field than in education, where I initially began my college career.

“I like problem solving, and the fact that every problem is different. No two engineering projects are the same; each project has unique problems that are solved in different ways. I also like that to move forward in engineering, you need to keep up with technology and keep up with projects. I like to keep learning something new. Engineering is definitely a team effort, and I like working with other people to make a project successful.”

 

 

2016_NEW_Brecklin_Logan

Logan B., associate system protection engineer

“I’m an electrical engineer with emphases in power and energy, as well as controls. I also have a sustainable and renewable energy systems minor from UW-Platteville. In the years leading up to college, I imagined I would be a civil engineer – I always liked seeing the physical make-up of things, such as how the static and material properties of a bridge worked. But I was persuaded into electrical engineering by Dr. David Drury (he gave many UW-Platteville EE grads some unforgettable college stories) because of my good math skills. Performing circuit analysis was always like a puzzle to me, and the problems have become more complex and challenging as I’ve developed as an engineer. This reaffirms my decision to become an electrical engineer, and I couldn’t be more excited for what the future holds!

“I enjoy being an engineer because it offers exciting challenges on a day-to-day basis. While working at ATC, I’ve strived to learn the intricacies of each department and how ATC’s holistic attitude has made us a great company to work for and work with. Like the typical engineer, I love to know the “how” and “why” to everything, yet fully realize we must rely on and leverage others’ skill sets to be the best team. Having an engineering background is also a great benefit for everyday life, whether it’s forming a budget, working on projects at home, or understanding causes and effects personally, economically, nationally and globally. Life is like an equation with some basic inputs and outputs. Hard work + family + fun = success!”

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Aerial tree trimming planned for eastern Wisconsin http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/aerial-tree-trimming-planned-for-eastern-wisconsin/ Mon, 22 Feb 2016 14:38:31 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6225 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.

Note to editors: A map indicating the planned aerial saw work can be found here. Video footage of similar vegetation management work can be found on our YouTube page.

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ATC named to Best Workplaces in Manufacturing and Production list http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-named-to-best-workplaces-in-manufacturing-and-production-list/ Tue, 16 Feb 2016 22:00:50 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6202 PEWAUKEE, WIS. — American Transmission Co. is one of the 2016 Best Workplaces in Manufacturing and Production, according to the 2016-manufacturing-production-logo-rgb-onscreenglobal 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.”

Fortune published the complete list of 15 Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production. Click here for the entire list and here for ATC’s company profile.

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Herbst joins ATC as VP of Information Technology http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/herbst-joins-atc-as-vp-of-information-technology/ Tue, 26 Jan 2016 19:38:45 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6146 sherbst-WebPEWAUKEE, 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.

 

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ATC’s McKee aims to educate policymakers, regulators with WIRES role http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atcs-mckee-aims-to-educate-policymakers-regulators-with-wires-role/ Mon, 25 Jan 2016 14:50:06 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6135 rmcKee

Bob McKee

American Transmission Co.’s Manager of Regulatory Relations and Policy, Bob McKee, has accepted the position of president at WIRES, a non-profit group of electric transmission owners, investors, RTOs, consultants and other entities. The group’s function is to advocate for the development of transmission on behalf of its members.

It’s a position McKee calls “a great platform for ATC to address national policy issues that impact us.”

McKee has been the company’s main representative for WIRES for about two years. He collaborates on developing positions ATC takes at WIRES with WIRES members and Randy Satterfield, executive vice president business development, Tom Finco, vice president of external affairs and John Garvin, state government relations manager, and others regarding federal affairs throughout the transmission industry.

McKee served as the group’s vice president last year and was in line to become president-elect in 2016 before a change in leadership bumped him to president. He will serve as president through the end of 2016.

McKee stressed that while WIRES isn’t officially an “advocacy” group nor “lobbies,” it educates policy makers, regulators and other key external stakeholders about the benefit of transmission and weighs in on the policy debate in proceedings as FERC and other regulators and in Congress to support the development of transmission.

An example of that is when WIRES in 2015 raised the need for states when developing compliance plans for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan to consider transmission to be viewed as part of the solution and to ensure that reliability of the transmission system to preserved, McKee said. That issue is beginning to gain national traction.

“WIRES was one of a just a few voices for transmission in this conversation about the Clean Power Plan,” he said. “Advancing ATC’s position on a national front provides value to us.”

The group meets in person four times per year, but also conducts monthly meetings to discuss business items and policy initiatives. WIRES also has various committees that McKee and others on his team participate in that undertake projects such as one that is developing a new communications plan addressing what messages WIRES should be conveying about the benefits of transmission, who the group should be talking to and in which forums.

As president, McKee is responsible for guiding the organization, ensuring the group is meeting its objectives, overseeing meetings and otherwise serving members.

”Identifying and working with the other officers and the WIRES board to determine the efforts we want to undertake, what objectives we have and overall, what we want to accomplish this year is a very exciting part of being named president of this organization,” McKee said.

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It’s career fair season http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/its-career-fair-season/ Wed, 13 Jan 2016 20:18:33 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6094 ATC Positive EnergyYou wouldn’t know it by looking outside, but spring is just around the corner. That means American Transmission Co. recruiters and employees are busy promoting our job openings and internships at career fairs across the country.

ATC currently has more than 20 full-time job openings in a variety of fields, and will have approximately 25 internship and co-op positions this summer. If you know a student or job seeker interested in a career at ATC, tell them to visit ATC staff at one of these events to learn about our company and career opportunities:

 

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American Transmission Co. keeps communities green by awarding $60,000 for vegetation plantings http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-keeps-communities-green-by-awarding-60000-for-vegetation-plantings/ Mon, 11 Jan 2016 22:10:13 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6089 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:

Algoma Conover Mauston Spencer
Antigo De Pere McFarland Stevens Point
Baraboo Edgar Muskego Tomahawk
Bayside Fond du Lac Oconto Troy
Belgium Forest County Potawatomi Community Oregon Turtle
Bellevue Green Bay Peshtigo Whiting
Big Bend Horicon Pittsville Wilson
Brooklyn Hortonville Platteville Winter
Brown Deer Kronenwetter Princeton
Cambridge Marshall Reedsburg

 

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Railbelt utilities making progress on development of transmission business plan http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/railbelt-utilities-making-progress-on-development-of-transmission-business-plan/ Wed, 23 Dec 2015 17:01:24 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6017 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.

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ML&PAnchorage Municipal Light & PowerML&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

ChugachChugach 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, phil_steyer@chugachelectric.com, 907-762-4766

GVEAGolden 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, cabradish@gvea.com, 907-451-5676

HomerHomer 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, jgallagher@homerelectric.com, 907-283-2324

MEAMatanuska 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, julie.estey@mea.coop, 907-761-9215

SewardCity 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, jkinney@cityofseward.net, 907-224-4045

 

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The holidays are a time for giving at ATC http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/the-holidays-are-a-time-for-giving-at-atc/ Mon, 21 Dec 2015 22:36:56 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=6006 Throughout the year, and especially during the holidays, American Transmission Co. employees enjoy giving back to the community.

To help nourish families in need during the holiday season, ATC employees in Cottage Grove, Madison and Pewaukee, Wis., raised more than $1,000 and collected more than 50 pounds of food for Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin and Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.

Pewaukee employees held a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots drive to benefit families in Waukesha, Wis. The drive was so successful that Salvation Army of Waukesha had to make two trips to transport all the toys. One reason this year’s drive was such a success is that the legal team decided to do a twist on a Secret Santa holiday gift exchange this year.

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An ATC legal team member donates a toy he received in a Secret Santa gift exchange.

Instead of buying a gift for each person on the legal team to keep, a toy gift was bought to donate to Toys for Tots in honor of each team member. The donated toy reflected something about the person to whom it was given. For example, Alejandro B., staff counsel, is from Florida and is a Miami Dolphins fan. His secret Santa bought a big stuffed dolphin toy to donate.

DP_2015_Adopt-a-Family

De Pere employees “adopted” a family through the Salvation Army for holiday giving.

For the 10th straight year, the De Pere, Wis., office provided Christmas gifts to a local family “adopted” through the Salvation Army of Brown County. On the wish list for this year’s family of four with a baby on the way were such items as Princess and My Little Pony dolls and movies, a Hungry Hungry Hippo, movie and bowling passes, as well as such practical items as clothing, diapers, grocery cards, crockpot and a Wisconsin Public Service gift certificate.

MFO_2015 Giving Tree_Pic1 (2)

The Dane County Humane society received many needed supplies from employees who donated items they found on the “giving tree” in the Madison office.

In Madison, employees chose gift ideas for needed items hung on a “giving tree” to purchase supplies for the Dane County Humane Society. Keeping with the spirit of this fall’s unseasonably warm weather, the tree was decorated in a tropical theme this year.

Our real estate team held its third annual White Elephant Auction. Silly gifts such as a Chewbacca can cooler (think fur with a metal sash) and a howling flying monkey stuffed animal (catapults through the air and howls as it hits the ground) were a couple of the hilarious items up for auction. The group raised about $1,200 for the Alzheimer’s Association of Southeastern Wisconsin.

ATC’s Kingsford, Mich., office purchased gift cards for the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center to help local veterans who are homeless or suffer from severe mental health issues.

With holiday spirit and a little bit of fun, ATC helps make the holidays a little brighter for the community.

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ATC employee helps spearhead Dane County trail upgrade http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-employee-helps-spearhead-dane-county-trail-upgrade/ Mon, 14 Dec 2015 15:10:35 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5955 DSC_0067

A multi-use trail at McCarthy Park in Cottage Grove, Wis., will be a more attractive option for outdoor enthusiasts this winter, thanks in part to efforts by American Transmission Co. employee Paul Roltgen.

Roltgen, a senior estimator at ATC, sits on the Friends of McCarthy Park board and is responsible for fundraising efforts to improve the 220-acre park.

An avid cross-country skier who participates in the American Birkebeiner every year, Roltgen started asking two years ago for donations to fund improvements that would benefit everyone who uses the park.

The Friends board decided that a poorly-draining road that cut off a main trail artery needed to be moved.

After Roltgen received a $2,500 donation from ATC, which he said was used for gravel materials, Roltgen asked McFarland-based Henkels & McCoy for help with the project.DSC_0153

The engineering and utility infrastructure company donated four days of labor to move the road and finish the trail, Roltgen said. Work began this month after securing permits from the Dane County Parks Division to move the road.

“The park is a really enjoyable place to be in the winter,” said Roltgen. “But this is also something we hope can be used year-round.”

Al Bayer, senior project manager at Henkels & McCoy, credited Roltgen with having a vision for the project.

“This is a good corporate citizenship partnership,” said Bayer. Roltgen said those living on the east side of the county will benefit from the improved multi-use trail.

“There are a lot more options like this for folks who live west of Madison, but not many for those around here,” said Roltgen.

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ATC’s environmental commitment aims to benefit pollinators http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atcs-environmental-commitment-aims-to-benefit-pollinators/ Fri, 20 Nov 2015 16:55:09 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5909 Seeding along the Oak Leaf Trail bike path in Wauwatosa, Wis. earlier this month will provide native ground cover for urban wildlife and eventually attract diminishing populations of pollinators.

WMCERP seeding

ATC’s environmental services contractor, Cardno, seeded grass and other forbs for the second time in early November, immediately adjacent to the bike path where part of the Western Milwaukee County Electric Reliability Project was completed in May 2015. The area near North 115th St. and West Underwood Parkway was initially seeded in July.

Nearly all of the grasses and forbs seeded along the path also are included in ATC’s Grow Smart planting guide. Grow Smart is a program that helps landowners understand the importance of planting low-growing vegetation near transmission lines. Common milkweed is one of the forbs promoted in Grow Smart and was one of the seeds included in the trail’s seed mix. ATC distributed thousands of milkweed seed packets at various events this year, helping educate the public about the plight of the monarch butterfly – which is highly dependent on milkweed as a food source.

The $23 million electric system reinforcement project that was rebuilt along portions of the bike path included the construction of a new We Energies substation adjacent to the existing Milwaukee County substation at 93rd Street and Watertown Plank Road, and construction of two separate 138,000-volt transmission lines to connect the substation to the transmission system that serves area.

For more information on the WMCERP project, click here.

To learn more about ATC’s Grow Smart program, click here.

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Nesting platforms a major component of our Avian Protection Program http://www.atcllc.com/blog/nesting-platforms-a-major-component-of-our-avian-protection-program/ Thu, 19 Nov 2015 20:14:25 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5900 Kestrel_iStock_webBird nests on utility equipment can post safety problems for the birds and jeopardize the reliability of the transmission system. We have more than 100 nesting platforms located on or adjacent to our transmission structures to protect birds and support successful breeding. We also partner with other agencies, organizations and individuals to erect platforms in other areas away from transmission lines.avian1

Other components of our program include:

  • Transmission line configuration modifications,
  • Flight diverters to increase visibility of shield wires,
  • Perch guards to prevent birds from landing or sitting on transmission facilities and
  • Replacement of problematic structures.

 

To learn more about our Avian Protection Program, check out this short video on our YouTube channel.

 

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50th Anniversary of Great Northeast Blackout http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/50th-anniversary-of-great-northeast-blackout/ Mon, 09 Nov 2015 12:00:14 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5887

“Today’s failure is a dramatic reminder of the importance of the uninterrupted flow of power to the health, safety, and well being of our citizens and the defense of our country….” —President Lyndon B. Johnson, Nov. 9, 1965 after the Great Northeast Blackout

Beginning in the 1950s, the utility industry understood the need to build out a grid to accommodate the post-World War II demand for electricity. The idea was to balance generation across a broader geographic region to efficiently provide enough power during times of high usage, or peak demand, while not wasting reserve generating capacity simply to meet the high demand for a few hours of the day.

In the late afternoon of Nov. 9, 1965, a single transmission line in Niagara Falls, New York, tripped out of service, causing five more lines to became overloaded and trip. After four seconds, the northeastern power grid separated into islands, which went black within five minutes, leaving more than 30 million people across 800,000 square miles without power for up to 13 hours.

Coming during the evening rush hour, hundreds of thousands of people were stranded in elevators, many more in subways and office buildings; traffic in New York City ground to a halt.

Although not as large as the blackout of August 2003, when more than 80 million people were affected, the 1965 event brought home to everyone the important role electricity plays in our daily lives. It was the first widespread blackout, and it occurred during the Cold War. Many people thought it might be the beginning of the end of the world.

It also caused the industry to re-examine the grid network and to plan for the unexpected. It gave rise to the creation of a group of regional coordinating councils and power pools to develop industry standards for reliability. Today, the electric grid in the United States is networked into three different areas: The Eastern Interconnection that stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic coast, the Western Interconnection from the Rockies to the Pacific, and the Texas Interconnection. The industry is regulated by the North American Electric Reliability Council, subject to oversight by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

To learn more about today’s modern electric grid, visit this Department of Energy website.

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Helicopter to fly transmission line route Friday http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/helicopter-to-fly-transmission-line-route-friday/ Thu, 29 Oct 2015 15:12:11 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5880 Line to be built in Outagamie, Brown, Shawano and Oconto counties

DE PERE, Wis. – A helicopter will be used to capture engineering design information and other data as American Transmission Co. continues to develop two new transmission lines to serve northeastern Wisconsin.

“We are making good progress in preparing for the start of construction on the North Appleton to Morgan project,” said Cliff Van Den Elzen, project manager for ATC. “Flying the route for the 138,000-volt and 345,000-volt lines will provide us with the information we need to safely and sensitively design the transmission facilities.”

The low-flying helicopter, piloted by Brainerd Helicopter Service, will take off about 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 30, from the North Appleton Substation in Outagamie County and fly the 45-mile route to the Morgan Substation in Oconto County. Flying the route is dependent on good weather.

The North Appleton-Morgan transmission lines are part of the Bay Lake Project, a collection of facilities designed to reinforce the electrical grid in northeastern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The $327-million project was approved by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in May 2015. Construction will begin in 2016 to meet an anticipated in-service date of 2019.

More information about the project, including a map of the transmission line route, is available at atc-projects.com.

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane…wait, is that a drone? http://www.atcllc.com/blog/its-a-bird-its-a-planewait-is-that-a-drone/ Tue, 27 Oct 2015 19:15:45 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5867 DroneAmerican Transmission Co. crews are trying out some high-flying technology this week as an option for transmission line inspections – drones. That’s right we’re using an unmanned aircraft, commonly known as drones, to inspect approximately 40 structures on two 69,000-volt transmission lines in Marinette, Oconto and Brown counties.

ATC contracted with a commercial drone company experienced with transmission inspections to conduct comprehensive transmission line inspections, including inspecting all wires, structures, insulators and hardware for damage, and looking for right-of-way obstructions.

“We’re evaluating this new technology as an alternative to some inspections currently being performed from helicopters or by ground crews,” said Duane Schoon, ATC manager of asset maintenance and commissioning. “Drones can be especially useful when inspecting transmission lines in difficult-to-reach areas, such as near buildings, roads or recreational trails.”

Inspection of the transmission system is important to help ensure public safety and electric system reliability, and utilities across the nation are beginning to use drones for inspections. ATC performs routine inspections of our more than 9,530 miles of transmission lines and 530 substations. If the pilot program is successful, ATC will evaluate using drone technology in other parts of our service area.

The aircraft being used is approximately 25 pounds, 2.5 feet in diameter, has eight rotors and is equipped with a high-resolution camera. It is about as loud as a vacuum cleaner and sounds like a swarm of bees.

Check out the video below of the drone crew inspecting one of our transmission line structures.

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Drone inspections planned for transmission lines in Marinette, Oconto and Brown counties http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/drone-inspections-planned-for-transmission-lines-in-marinette-oconto-and-brown-counties/ Thu, 22 Oct 2015 19:34:26 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5848 ATC trying new technology as an option for transmission line inspections

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – A drone will be used next week to inspect portions of two 69,000-volt transmission lines near the Town of Beaver and continuing south to Green Bay.

InspectionDronewebAmerican Transmission Co. has contracted with HAZON Solutions, LLC to conduct a pilot program to evaluate using drones to inspect transmission lines on its system. The drone used by HAZON is approximately 25 pounds, 2.5 feet in diameter, has eight rotors and is equipped with a high-resolution camera.

“We’re evaluating this new technology as a potential alternative to some inspections currently being performed from helicopters or by ground crews,” said Duane Schoon, ATC manager of asset maintenance and commissioning. “Drones can be especially useful when inspecting transmission lines in difficult-to-reach areas, such as near buildings, roads or recreational trails.”

Drones are increasingly being used by utilities across the nation for inspection purposes. If the pilot program is successful, ATC will evaluate using drone technology in other parts of its service area.

Inspection of the transmission system is important to help ensure public safety and electric system reliability. ATC performs routine inspections of its 9,530 miles of transmission lines and 530 substations.

The inspection is scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 26 through 30, but is weather dependent.

A video of similar drone inspection work is available on our YouTube channel.

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We did it again! ATC named one of the best small and medium companies in the U.S. for second consecutive year http://www.atcllc.com/blog/we-did-it-again-atc-named-one-of-the-best-small-and-medium-companies-in-the-u-s-for-second-consecutive-year-2/ Wed, 21 Oct 2015 13:59:04 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5828 2015 Great Place to Work logo2015 Great Place to WorkAmerican Transmission Co. has been named one of the best small and medium workplaces on the annual 2015 Great Place to Work® Best Small & Medium Workplaces list, published in FORTUNE magazine.

We competed against hundreds of companies across the country to receive this honor to rank among the top 25 medium-sized workplaces in the U.S. This is the second consecutive year we have applied for and received this honor in our 14-year history.

The bulk of the weight of the application came from an employee survey about benefits programs and company practices. Seventy-one percent of ATC employees participated in the survey, and their responses placed ATC in the 95th percentile for positive marks in response to the statement, “Taking everything into account, I would say this is a great place to work.”

“We work hard to be a company where employees enjoy working, and it is through teamwork that we continue to achieve success,” said ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe. “Being named to the list for the second year in a row is certainly an honor, especially because our employees’ survey responses put us on the list.”

Here are a few things that employees had to say that helped get ATC on the list:

  • “What I like most at ATC is an open atmosphere to be able to congeal as a team and work together to perform great high-quality work. That openness allows our department to be more innovative in the way we do our work which in turn allows ATC to be an industry leader.”
  • “ATC provides a unique combination of opportunity, tools, and support to help anyone who is motivated to develop both personally and professionally.”
  • “My leadership trusts me to get my job done without standing over me. They have also given me the tools and the latitude to try new ideas.”
  • “The executive management and directors and VP’s have a very clear understanding of what’s going on in the company and where it’s headed, and communicate well with the rest of the company.”

Check out the 2015 Great Place to Work® Best Small & Medium Workplaces list, published in FORTUNE magazine.

Learn more about why ATC made the list in the Great Place to Work® Great Rated! Review.

ABOUT GREAT PLACE TO WORK: Great Place to Work® is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and employer branding programs, including Best Companies lists and workplace reviews, Great Place to Work® provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures.

In the United States, Great Place to Work® produces the annual FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list and the Great Place to Work® Best Small & Medium Workplaces list.

Follow Great Place to Work® online at www.greatplacetowork.com and on Twitter at @GPTW_US. For information about global operations at Great Place to Work®, visit www.greatplacetowork.net.

ABOUT FORTUNE: Fortune is a global business magazine that has been revered in its content and credibility since 1930. Published biweekly, every issue is completely saturated with profoundly deep and extensively detailed analyses of the entire field of business, including specific companies, tendencies, prominent people, and new ideas that are characterizing the modern world. Fortune magazine is particularly well-known for its exceptionally reliable annual rankings of companies. Examples of these highly researched features are the “Fortune 500,” which ranks the world’s companies by gross revenue, and the “Best Companies to Work For,” both of which have become industry benchmarks. This publication furthers understanding of the economy, provides implementable business strategy, and maximizes ability to make objective decisions. Fortune magazine is prized in its category of magazines and has been proven a reliable source of integral knowledge.

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ATC named on Great Place to Work® Best Small & Medium Workplaces List for second year http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-named-on-great-place-to-work-best-small-medium-workplaces-list-for-second-year/ Wed, 21 Oct 2015 13:55:26 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5815 2015 Great Place to Work logoFORTUNE magazine-published list names the best workplaces in the country

PEWAUKEE, WIS. – American Transmission Co. was named by Great Place to Work® as one of the best workplaces in the United States on the 2015 Best Small & Medium Workplaces list, published today in FORTUNE magazine. This is the second consecutive year ATC has been named to the list.

Competing against hundreds of companies across the country, ATC participated in a rigorous selection process that included an employee survey and an in-depth questionnaire about benefits programs and company practices. Great Place to Work® evaluated each application based on five dimensions of a great workplace: credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie.

As ATC strives to be the nation’s premier energy delivery company, processes such as these help illustrate how ATC employees experience their workplace.

“We work hard to be a company where employees enjoy working, and it is through teamwork that we continue to achieve success,” said ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe. “Being named to the list for the second year in a row is certainly an honor, especially because our employees’ survey responses put us on the list.”

The Best Small & Medium Workplaces list is divided into two categories, small (25-250 employees) and medium (251-999 employees), and recognizes companies with exceptional workplace cultures. Great Place to Work® has found that employees believe they work for great organizations when they trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do and enjoy their coworkers.

ATC also was named one of the top workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2014 and 2015.

FORTUNE Magazine published the complete list of Best Small & Medium Workplaces. Click here for the entire list and here for ATC’s company profile.

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PSC approves new transmission line project, issues order for rebuild project http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/psc-approves-new-transmission-line-project-issues-order-for-rebuild-project/ Fri, 16 Oct 2015 16:19:06 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5813 Projects support local distribution networks and improve electric reliability

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin yesterday approved a new electric reliability transmission line project near the village of Eden. At an open meeting, the commissioners agreed on the need for the Creekview Interconnection Project and approved the north route proposed by ATC in its application filed earlier this year.

“This 138,000-volt transmission line will support the low-voltage distribution system in the region by connecting to a new We Energies substation,” said Barbara Mikolajczyk, ATC project manager.

The project was announced in spring 2014 and includes a new We Energies substation, called Creekview, located on the north side of County Highway F, east of Greenway Road, and a new, 9-mile, 138-kV transmission line to provide service to the new substation. The new transmission line will be co-located with an existing 345-kV line.

The estimated project cost is $25 million to $26 million; a more refined cost estimate will be included in the PSC’s final order for the project, which is anticipated to be issued within the month. Construction is projected to begin in fall 2016, with an in-service date of January 2018.

On Tuesday, the PSC issued an order to rebuild a 14-mile, 138-kV transmission line in southeastern Wisconsin. The St. Martins-Edgewood-Mukwonago Rebuild Project runs from the St. Martins Substation in Franklin to the Edgewood Substation in Big Bend, and continues on to the Mukwonago Substation in Mukwonago.

“The lattice tower structures on this line are approximately 90 years old and are at the end of their useful life,” said Andy Ehlert, ATC project manager. “Replacing the aging structures will help maintain the reliability of the area electric transmission system.”

One hundred fifty aging lattice structures will be replaced with 126 steel, single-pole structures, and the wires also will be replaced. No new right-of-way is needed for this project. Construction is anticipated to begin in fall 2017 to meet an in-service date of June 2018. The estimated cost of this project is $24.7 million.

Note to editors: A map of the projects’ routes, along with other information, is available at www.atc-projects.com.

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Economic benefits of transmission http://www.atcllc.com/blog/economic-benefits-of-transmission/ Mon, 12 Oct 2015 18:59:20 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5805 CoffeeShopCustomer_smallInvestments in electric transmission infrastructure are a good value for consumers. Typically, transmission costs within ATC’s service area are about 8 to 9 percent of a retail customer’s electric bill. (Retail customers pay for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, plus fuels costs, through regulated utility rates. Generation and fuel make up the major portion of the bill, followed by distribution infrastructure.)

Transmission lines don’t stop and start at state borders. Interconnections with utilities in other states allow our utility customers, the local distribution companies, to access sources of generation outside their service areas when it is economic to do so. We all benefit from the interconnected grid.

Watch this video to learn more about what we do at ATC.

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American Transmission Co. 10-Year Plan builds on past success http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-10-year-plan-builds-on-past-success/ Mon, 05 Oct 2015 14:57:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5795 System build out slows while maintenance, repair ramp up

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – The next 10 years call for continued investment in the American Transmission Co. electric grid, assuring continued electric reliability and increased access to economic energy for its electric distribution utility customers.

The 2015 10-Year Transmission System Assessment calls for an investment of $3.7 billion to $4.5 billion in the grid that serves eastern Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and portions of Illinois and Minnesota. ATC has identified the need for $1.4 billion in network projects, $0.5 billion in regional Multi-Value Projects identified by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, $1.4 billion in asset maintenance and a range from $0.4 billion to $1.2 billion in other capital improvements.

The report, which is available online at www.atc10yearplan.com, notes that the investment made in transmission infrastructure to date has effectively and economically improved reliability while being responsive to the changing ways in which the grid is being used to realize opportunities provided by the marketplace. Reliability is best-in-class in several industry benchmarking studies of performance with other transmission operators.

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Railbelt utilities update RCA on efforts to develop transmission business model http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/railbelt-utilities-update-rca-on-efforts-to-develop-transmission-business-model/ Thu, 01 Oct 2015 17:23:47 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5784 ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Railbelt utilities have jointly submitted a letter to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska summarizing progress on their voluntary efforts to evaluate a business model whereby the operation, maintenance and upgrades of the Railbelt transmission network are accomplished by a transmission company to enhance the reliable delivery of electric power to Railbelt customers.

Joining the Railbelt utilities is American Transmission Co., a Wisconsin-based transmission-only utility formed through a similar effort in 2001 in the Midwest. ATC’s start-up and operational experience have been the starting point for discussions among the Railbelt utilities to determine the necessary steps in forming a transmission-only utility.

Recent discussions about possible development of a Railbelt transmission company stem from recommendations by the Alaska Legislature and the RCA over the past two years.

The Railbelt utilities’ report to the RCA can be found at:

http://rca.alaska.gov/RCAWeb/ViewFile.aspx?id=0f1c34db-e14d-44e2-8572-3de55d84dbf9

The utilities will provide an additional update to the RCA by year-end.

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Media contacts:

Anchorage Municipal Light & Power (ML&P) – Julie Harris – HarrisJA@muni.org, 907-263-5423
Chugach Electric Association, Inc. (Chugach) – Phil Steyer, phil_steyer@chugachelectric.com, 907-762-4766
Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) – Corinne Bradish, cabradish@gvea.com, 907-451-5676
Homer Electric Association, Inc. (HEA) – Joe Gallagher, jgallagher@homerelectric.com, 907-283-2324
Matanuska Electric Association (MEA) – Julie Estey, julie.estey@mea.coop, 907-761-9215
City of Seward Electric System (SES) – Johanna Kinney, jkinney@cityofseward.net, 907-224-4045
American Transmission Co. (ATC) — Anne Spaltholz, aspaltholz@atcllc.com, 877-506-6117

Anchorage Municipal Light & PowerML&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

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

Golden Valley Electric AssociationGVEA 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

Homer Electric Association, Inc. — HEA is a member-owned electric cooperative that serves the western Kenai Peninsula. The 3,166-square-mile service territory includes the communities of Sterling, Soldotna, Kenai, Nikiski, Homer, and also the south side of Kachemak Bay from Halibut Cove to Nanwalek. 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. For more information, visit www.homerelectric.com.

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

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

American Transmission Co.ATC is a Wisconsin-based company that owns and operates the electric transmission system in portions of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, ATC has invested $3.5 billion to improve the adequacy and reliability of its infrastructure. ATC now owns and operates $3.8 billion in assets, including more than 9,530 miles of transmission lines and 530 substations. 12% of ATC’s ownership is munis and co-ops, and 88% is investor-owned utilities. The company is a member of the MISO regional transmission organization, and provides nondiscriminatory service to all customers, supporting effective competition in energy without favoring any market participant. www.atcllc.com

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Bringing our positive energy to college campuses http://www.atcllc.com/blog/bringing-our-positive-energy-to-college-campuses/ Wed, 23 Sep 2015 15:26:35 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5769 CareerFairAt American Transmission Co., there’s a special energy among employees – a positive energy. And we’re taking that positive energy message on the road this fall as we visit college campuses for career fairs.

Students attending the following colleges are invited to visit our booth and talk to current ATC employees about our company, co-op/internship opportunities and entry-level positions.

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Why do power lines sag on hot days? http://www.atcllc.com/blog/why-do-power-lines-sag-on-hot-days/ Thu, 13 Aug 2015 22:11:52 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5664 SaggingSpan_cropIn hot weather, power lines can overheat just as people and animals do. The lines are often heavily loaded because of increased power consumption, and the conductors, which are generally made of copper or aluminum, expand when heated. That expansion increases the slack between transmission line structures, causing them to sag.

Transmission lines are designed to meet the requirements of state electrical codes. State codes provide minimum distances between wires, poles, the ground and buildings. Industry standards are often more strict and are incorporated in transmission line design, construction and maintenance. As a precaution, no one should be on an object or in contact with an object taller than 15 to 17 feet while under a high-voltage line.

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ATC Interns dig in for Day of Action to support United Way http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-interns-dig-in-for-day-of-action-to-support-united-way/ Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:16:32 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5640 ATC interns enjoyed giving back to the community at Green Power Garden in Waukesha, Wis.

ATC interns enjoyed giving back to the community at Green Power Garden in Waukesha, Wis.

Interns from American Transmission Co. joined 700 others for an Intern Day of Action to benefit the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. Forty ATC interns volunteered to help with garden maintenance, picking and planting at Green Power Garden. The garden primarily provides fresh vegetables and fruit to guests of the Hope Center, an organization that serves people in need in Waukesha County, Wis., sharing surplus harvest with the Food Pantry of Waukesha.

Here is what our interns had to say about the experience:

“Participating in the Intern Day of Action was a rewarding experience … It brought us all together, and for a great cause!  I am proud to have Lived United … and to know that what we did will help to make a difference once the produce is harvested in autumn.” – Whitney C., project engineering intern

“The Intern Day of Action was a great way to connect with the community through ATC. It was wonderful to see the impact we made at the end of the day and to know that we were helping people in need.  Being a part of ATC’s presence in the community was a very fun and rewarding experience.” – Eden W., EMS intern

“I’d say that the best part about it was being able to get some time outside the office to really feel like we were making a difference … It also felt like a very unique way to give back to the community which made me enjoy it personally.” – Noah F., information management analyst intern

The Intern Day of Action was a great opportunity for our employees to help support the United Way.

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ATC, MJ Electric collaborate on donation to Heritage Hill State Park http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-mj-electric-collaborate-on-donation-to-heritage-hill-state-park/ Wed, 22 Jul 2015 15:48:39 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5601 MJ crew setting pole at HHOld Glory is flying proudly over the refurbished Fort Howard area of Heritage Hill State Park in Green Bay this summer, thanks in part to the efforts of American Transmission Co. and our construction partner, M.J. Electric.

Earlier this year, park managers asked if we could provide a transmission structure from one of our construction projects to use as a flag pole on the park grounds. We provided a cedar pole from a transmission line rebuilding project near Shawano, and M.J. Electric furnished a crew and the equipment to set the pole in June.

A flag raising was one of many events during the grand opening weekend of a $2.1 million addition to the Fort Howard display.

Heritage Hill is a living history museum dedicated to preservation of buildings and artifacts as well as the interpretation of history on northeastern Wisconsin. It contains 24 original and reproduction buildings from 1672 to 1940.

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PowerForward: A changing utility landscape http://www.atcllc.com/blog/powerforward-a-changing-utility-landscape/ Mon, 06 Jul 2015 13:09:02 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5580 atcllc.com/powerforward

Visit: atcllc.com/powerforward

ATC was created to resolve a number of electric reliability problems caused, in part, by the operation of a balkanized transmission system. In 2001, when we combined the transmission assets of our owners, the local distribution companies, we began to link the assets together to create a much larger, more robust interconnected system. While many of those “seams” issues between the individual utilities have been addressed in recent years, we continue to face a changing landscape in our planning and operations. Public policy changes — including new air quality rules that result in the retirement of old generators and construction of new, cleaner facilities, as well as renewable energy mandates — influence how we plan and operate our system. A competitive energy marketplace introduced in the region in 2005 also affects our plans and system design.

Learn more about the continuing need for reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electricity at atcllc.com/powerforward.

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American Transmission Co. announces three promotions http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-announces-three-promotions/ Wed, 24 Jun 2015 15:53:54 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5550 McNamara, Dolan and Winters assume new roles

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – John McNamara, Andy Dolan and Jared Winters have been promoted to senior positions within American Transmission Co.

McNamara is now vice president of asset management, responsible for transmission asset performance, maintenance and design. McNamara has been with ATC since its inception, when he began serving as the manager of project management prior to the company’s start of operations on Jan. 1, 2001. Before joining ATC, he worked in the nuclear power department of Wisconsin Electric (now We Energies) for 15 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois and a master’s of business administration from UW-Milwaukee.

Dolan assumes the newly created position of director of reliability planning. In this capacity, he will provide oversight to the development of the transmission system to ensure the use of appropriate transmission methodologies and technologies, creating an overall planning and service strategy. Dolan joined ATC in 2001 as assistant manager of maintenance and was promoted to manager of asset planning and engineering in 2005. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Marquette University.

Winters will assume duties as director of construction for projects in ATC’s western portfolio, based in Madison. He joined ATC in 2001 as a system protection engineer after working for several years as an engineering consultant in Madison. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UW-Platteville and earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from UW-Madison.

All three men are registered professional engineers in Wisconsin.

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ATC announces third year of community planting program http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-announces-third-year-of-community-planting-program/ Mon, 15 Jun 2015 18:30:15 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5517 Applications accepted now through Sept. 30

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. this month began accepting applications for their community planting program, now in its third year. The program is part of Grow Smart, which supports tree and vegetation planting in municipalities in ATC’s service area. Eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes may apply for financial support for planting projects on public property within their community. Since the program’s inception, ATC has awarded nearly $130,000 to 94 eligible municipalities and counties within its service area.

To qualify, communities must commit that all current and future planting plans and urban forestry activities near high-voltage electric transmission lines will comply with ATC’s maintenance standards. “By applying for the community planting program, communities across our service territory have an opportunity to beautify their communities and plant trees outside of the electric transmission system right-of-way. This program helps communities understand that trees and transmission lines are an unsafe combination,” said ATC Environmental and Local Relations Manager Greg Levesque. “Keeping trees out of the right-of-way also keeps the public safe and the transmission system reliable.”

ATC is accepting applications through Sept. 30, and award recipients will be selected and announced by the end of the year. ATC will accept one application per community, and awards range from $100 to $5,000.

Additional information, including a brochure and eligibility information, is available on ATC’s Grow Smart website: atc-GrowSmart.com.

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ATC ranked number 4 on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Top Workplaces list http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-ranked-number-4-on-the-milwaukee-journal-sentinels-top-workplaces-list/ Fri, 12 Jun 2015 22:03:11 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5491 It’s exciting times at American Transmission Co. ATC has once again been selected as a 2015 Top Workplace in southeastern Wisconsin by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

DP_TopWorkplaces

Managers had fun thanking employees with delicious ice cream treats.

The top workplaces are determined based on feedback from an employee survey, conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, an organizational health and employee engagement research firm. This is the sixth year the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has worked with Workplace Dynamics, LLP to develop and publish the list of top 150 area workplaces, and it’s the third time ATC has been named to the list. This year, ATC is number 4 on the list of midsize companies, up from its number 12 position last year.

Approximately 80 percent of ATC’s Milwaukee-area employees responded to the survey, which asked questions about ATC’s values, execution, leadership, culture, job satisfaction and overall feelings about working at the company.

Last fall, ATC also ranked among the nation’s top-25 medium-sized Great Places to Work as published in FORTUNE magazine.

Click here for the entire list and here for ATC’s company profile.

TWP_Milwaukee_2015_AW

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ATC named one of the top workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin for third year http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-named-one-of-the-top-workplaces-in-southeastern-wisconsin-for-third-year/ Fri, 12 Jun 2015 15:39:47 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5494 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces list names 150 best area employers

PEWAUKEE, WIS. — American Transmission Co. has been selected as one of the 2015 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin. The top workplaces are determined based on feedback from an employee survey conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, an organizational health and employee engagement research firm. This is the sixth year the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has published the list of top area workplaces, and this is the third time ATC has been named to the list. This year, ATC is number 4 on the list of midsize companies, up from its number 12 position last year.

ATC has 382 employees at its headquarters in Pewaukee, Wis. More than 80 percent of employees responded to the workplace survey in fall 2014, which asked about ATC’s corporate values, leadership and culture, as well as employees’ job satisfaction and overall feelings about working at the company.

“I’m very pleased to see that ATC employees have such a high regard for our workplace,” said ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe. “Being recognized as a Top Workplace is an honor, especially because it is our employees who are the judges.”

Last fall, ATC also ranked among the nation’s top-25 medium-sized Great Places to Work as published in FORTUNE magazine. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will publish its complete list of top workplaces this weekend.

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Lightning myths and facts to keep you safe in severe weather http://www.atcllc.com/blog/lightning-myths-and-facts-to-keep-you-safe-in-severe-weather/ Fri, 05 Jun 2015 18:30:23 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5461 Hot and humid summer days can often produce violent thunderstorms. New transmission lines are built with a grounded shield wire along the top of the poles, above the conductors, to protect the line from lightning. Like trees and other tall objects, transmission poles are likely to intercept lightning strikes, but they do not attract lightning.

Lightening-smallHere are a few myths and facts about lightning, courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice. Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit nearly 100 times a year.

Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning. Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm.

Myth: A lightning victim is electrified. If you touch the individual, you’ll be electrocuted. Fact: The human body does not store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give him or her first aid.

Myth: If outside in a thunderstorm, you should seek shelter under a tree to stay dry. Fact: Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties.

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PSC issues order for ATC’s North Appleton-Morgan transmission line http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/psc-issues-order-for-atcs-north-appleton-morgan-transmission-line/ Thu, 21 May 2015 16:31:01 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5444 Project includes 345,000- and 138,000-volt lines, substation work

MADISON, Wis. – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin issued the final order spelling out terms and conditions to be met in the construction of American Transmission Co.’s North Appleton-Morgan Transmission Line Project in Outagamie, Brown, Shawano and Oconto counties.

“The approval of the North Appleton–Morgan project by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin represents a major step forward in strengthening the electric transmission grid in northeastern Wisconsin,” said David Hovde, senior local relations representative for American Transmission Co. “We will continue to work with landowners and other interested parties as we move into the construction phase of the project.”

Landowners who live along the project route will be contacted by ATC real estate representatives beginning this summer in preparation for a summer 2016 construction start.

As part of ATC’s Bay Lake Project announced in 2012, North Appleton-Morgan includes:

  •  A new 345-kV line and a new 138-kV line between the North Appleton Substation on French Road in the Town of Freedom in Outagamie County and the Morgan Substation in Oconto County (about 45 miles),
  •  Expanded facilities at North Appleton and Morgan substations,
  •  A new Benson Lake Substation at the site of the Amberg Substation in Marinette County to accommodate a large voltage-control device and
  •  Additional work at 11 substations in northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

ATC met with landowners, local officials and other interested stakeholders over nearly two years to develop route alternatives for the new transmission lines. Single-circuit, self-supporting steel monopole structures will be used in most locations. The typical height of the structures will be 85 feet on the 138-kV line and 120 feet on the 345-kV line.

Estimated cost of the project is $327 million.

Plans for the project will follow this general timeline:

Property owner notifications                                       June 2015

Begin easement negotiations                                     Late 2015

Construction start                                                      July 2016

In-service date                                                          Second quarter 2019

Note to editors: A high-level map of the project’s route, along with other information, is available at www.BayLakeProject.com

The project application and other documents associated with the regulatory review process are available at www.psc.wi.gov under Docket No. 137-CE-166.

 

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ATC’s Party for the Planet hits 10-year mark with various activities http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atcs-party-for-the-planet-hits-10-year-mark-with-various-activities/ Tue, 19 May 2015 18:03:44 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5421 If you didn’t get to the Milwaukee County Zoo on May 16-17, you missed a few things – not to mention the beautiful weather! For the 10th year, ATC sponsored the Zoological Society of Milwaukee’s event called Party for the Planet. This “green” event celebrates our planet and commemorates Migratory Bird Day and Earth Day.IMG_0260

ATC featured three different activities this year. At the Northwestern Mutual Family Fun Farm, nationally renowned horticulturist, author and radio/TV host Melinda Myers assisted children in planting a low-growing, native species butterfly garden.

Melinda is ATC’s spokesperson for the Grow Smart program, which helps educate landowners about planting low-growing, native species – especially in the transmission line right-of-way. The Grow Smart Butterfly & Pollinator Garden is in the shape of a butterfly and will become a permanent exhibition garden at the Zoo that will attract pollinators and birds for years to come.IMG_0262

In the US Bank Building Gathering Place (the Zoo’s main entrance), ATC volunteers staffed a booth that educated visitors about pollinators. Kids and adults played Name that Pollinator game, learned about different types of pollinators and picked up their free common milkweed seed packets – along with a few other goodies.

Meanwhile, near the southern shore of Lake Evinrude on the Zoo’s grounds, a local Cub Scout pack from Bay View assisted the Zoo’s forestry crew and other volunteers in planting more than 40 trees. In the coming months, a total of 100 trees will be planted.

IMG_0255This is the second year that ATC has granted funding to the Zoological Society of Milwaukee, which is used to remove damaged vegetation and invasive species and replace them with native trees and shrubs within the Zoo’s 200 acres. Restoration of the area near the lake helps diversify the plant and animal species, improve air quality, reduce the Zoo’s carbon footprint and enhance the beauty of the grounds.

All of these activities – including ATC’s sponsorship, the weather and the many Zoo-goers and participants – made the weekend’s event quite the party.

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Nesting boxes provide a welcome home for kestrels http://www.atcllc.com/blog/nesting-boxes-provide-a-welcome-home-for-kestrels/ Wed, 13 May 2015 21:37:16 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5399 Kestrel_iStock_web

The American kestrel is North America’s smallest falcon. The bird likes to hunt in open areas with low vegetation, making transmission rights of way ideal spots for them to hang out. Kestrels also like to nest in cavities such as hollowed-out trees, crevices or nooks. Natural habitats for the falcon are limited, but it is attracted to man-made nesting boxes. The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wis. is supporting the kestrel population by erecting nesting boxes to encourage kestrel population growth.Kestrel-nest-box_wood-pole_web

When American Transmission Co. was approached by Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary about using ATC’s structures to install nesting boxes for kestrels, not only did ATC make it happen, but one of our contractors, MJ Electric, agreed to install the boxes.

ATC is committed to the environment and strives to protect and conserve natural resources and wildlife. Learn more about what ATC does to provide safe nesting areas and protect the habitats of birds in our service area in an overview of our Avian Protection Program.

Kestrel-nest-box_lattice_web

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Milwaukee County transmission line project now in service http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/milwaukee-county-transmission-line-project-now-in-service/ Thu, 07 May 2015 13:46:18 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5385 Project improves electric reliability in western Milwaukee County

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. and We Energies Wednesday placed into service a transmission line project that will improve electric system reliability in western Milwaukee County. The project involved construction of two transmission lines and a new We Energies substation near Watertown Plank Road and 93rd Street, adjacent to the existing We Energies Milwaukee County power plant and substation. Approximately 90 percent of the transmission lines were constructed on municipal or public property, and a portion of the line is underground.

The new substation and transmission lines provide for the area’s growing electric needs and the critical nature of the Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma centers located within the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center complex. The medical center calls for a higher level of electric service reliability, one that includes a backup source for electricity in the event one of the two lines experiences an outage.

“Restoration activities will continue for the coming months, including seeding along the bike path and near the railroad tracks along Underwood Creek Parkway.” said William Aeschbacher, ATC project manager. “We also are working with a local group on prairie restoration in a 4-acre area along the Milwaukee County Oak Leaf Trail, including removing the invasive teasel plant, which has been thriving there for many years, and restoring the area with native prairie species.”

ATC filed an application to construct the project with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in February 2012, received approval in March 2013 and began construction later that year. The project is projected to come within the PSC-approved budget of approximately $23 million.

Note to editors: A map and additional project information is available at atc-projects.com.

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PSC gives verbal approval to ATC transmission line project http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/psc-gives-verbal-approval-to-atc-transmission-line-project/ Fri, 01 May 2015 18:58:24 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5354 North Appleton-Morgan includes 345,000- and 138,000-volt lines, substation work

MADISON, Wis. – The three commissioners of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin gave verbal approval to an electric reliability project in northeastern Wisconsin today. At an open meeting, the commissioners agreed on the need for the North Appleton-Morgan Transmission Line Project and approved a route through Outagamie, Brown, Shawano and Oconto counties.

“The approval of the North Appleton – Morgan project by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin represents a major step forward in strengthening the electric transmission grid in northeastern Wisconsin,” said David Hovde, senior local relations representative for American Transmission Co. “We will continue to work with landowners and other interested parties as we move into the construction phase of the project.”

As part of ATC’s Bay Lake Project announced in 2012, North Appleton-Morgan includes:

  • A new 345-kV line and a new 138-kV line between the North Appleton Substation on French Road in the Town of Freedom in Outagamie County and the Morgan Substation in Oconto County (about 40 to 48 miles depending on route),
  • Expanded facilities at North Appleton and Morgan substations,
  • A new Benson Lake Substation at the site of the Amberg Substation in Marinette County to accommodate a large voltage-control device and
  • Additional work at 11 substations in northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

ATC met with landowners, local officials and other interested stakeholders for nearly two years to develop route alternatives for the new transmission lines. Single-circuit, self-supporting steel monopole structures would be used in most locations. The typical height of the structures would be 85 feet on the 138-kV line and 120 feet on the 345-kV line.

Preliminary estimated cost of the project is $307 to $327 million; a more refined cost estimate will be included in the PSC’s final order for the project, which is anticipated to be issued within the next month.

Plans for the project will follow this general timeline:
Property owner notifications ……… June 2015
Begin easement negotiations………..Late 2015
Construction start……………………….July 2016
In-service date……………………………Second quarter 2019

Note to editors: A high-level map of the project’s route, along with other information, is available at www.BayLakeProject.com

The project application and other documents associated with the regulatory review process are available at www.psc.wi.gov under Docket No. 137-CE-166.

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May is National Electrical Safety Month http://www.atcllc.com/blog/may-is-national-electrical-safety-month-2/ Fri, 01 May 2015 12:50:16 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5323 May is National Electrical Safety MonthHow much do you know about your home’s electrical system and the devices that run on it? The Electrical Safety Foundation International recommends a home electrical inspection if:

  • Your home is more than 40 years old,
  • You purchase a previously lived in home,
  • Your home has undergone a major renovation, or
  • You have added major new appliances in the last 10 years.

Visit a virtual home to take an electrical safety tour at the ESFI website: http://virtualhome.esfi.org

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Avoid downed power lines http://www.atcllc.com/blog/avoid-downed-power-lines/ Wed, 29 Apr 2015 15:58:23 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5316 Downed transmission lineSpring weather often brings tornados and severe storms. While transmission lines can withstand severe weather, the potential exists for storm damage, including downed power lines. Here are a few safety tips if you should encounter a downed power line.

  • If you see a downed line, always assume it is live. You cannot tell if it is energized just by looking at it.
  • Move away from it and anything touching it with shuffling, small steps. Keep your feet together and on the ground at all times to minimize the potential for a shock.
  • Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything else in contact with it by using an object such as a broom or stick.
  • Do not touch or step in water near where a downed power line is located.
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ATC files application with Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for new southeast Wisconsin transmission line http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-files-application-with-public-service-commission-of-wisconsin-for-new-southeast-wisconsin-transmission-line/ Mon, 27 Apr 2015 20:08:17 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5308 Project will strengthen the electric system in southern Walworth and western Kenosha counties

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Following more than two years of public outreach with local residents, American Transmission Co. today filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin seeking approval for the Spring Valley-North Lake Geneva Transmission Line Project.

The project includes the construction of a new 138,000-volt transmission line from the North Lake Geneva Substation in southern Walworth County to the Spring Valley Substation in western Kenosha County. ATC’s preferred route is approximately 25 miles and runs primarily along Highway 50. This option also includes construction of a new substation, called Balsam Substation, on an ATC-owned parcel along Highway 50 in the Town of Wheatland. A new 69-kV transmission line along County Highway O would connect the new substation to the existing Twin Lakes Substation in Twin Lakes. The alternate route is longer at approximately 34 miles and it follows a more southerly route from the North Lake Geneva Substation through Bloomfield and Twin Lakes, veering north along County Highway O, then west along County Highway K before tracking south to connect with the Spring Valley Substation.

“Additional electricity is needed in this area to ensure electric system reliability, especially since the population in the region is increasing,” said Doug Berton, ATC project manager. “In addition, when other lines in the region need to be taken out of service for maintenance, or there is an unplanned outage, this project would provide redundancy to help ensure that the lights stay on.”

The PSC will conduct a comprehensive review of ATC’s application, including the two proposed route options. The PSC’s regulatory review process includes conducting technical and public hearings that likely will be held in fall 2015, with a final decision expected in 2016. The PSC will notify local residents and businesses of the dates and times of the hearings, which provide the public an opportunity to make their concerns known to the decision makers.

The project is estimated to cost $71 million to $91 million. If the project is approved, construction would begin in 2017 to meet an in-service date of 2019. Additional information, including a copy of the application, can be found on the PSC’s website under Docket No. 137-CE-167.

Note to editors: A map of the project can be found here and additional information can be found at: atc-projects.com.

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American Transmission Co. names Mark Davis executive vice president and chief operating officer http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-names-mark-davis-executive-vice-president-and-chief-operating-officer/ Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:26:16 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5305 Davis is successor to Mike Rowe, who was promoted to CEO

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Mark Davis has been promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer of American Transmission Co. Effective May 1, Davis will report to newly appointed Chief Executive Officer and President Mike Rowe, who takes over for current CEO John Procario, who will serve as executive chairman until his retirement on July 31.

Davis will oversee System Planning, System Operations, Construction and Asset Management. He joined ATC in 2006 as director of Asset Management and was promoted to vice president in 2012. He has led the development and implementation of ATC’s Asset Management program that has helped the company earn top transmission reliability scores in a number of recent industry benchmarking studies. Davis joined ATC after a 20-year career with Indianapolis Power & Light Co., where he served in a variety of engineering and construction leadership roles. Davis serves as a leader in a number of industry organizations including the North American Transmission Forum, the Electric Power Research Institute, the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Davis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering technology from Purdue University.

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PSC approves order for Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/psc-approves-order-for-badger-coulee-transmission-line-project/ Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:59:16 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5300 American Transmission Co.
Jackie Olson
jolson@atcllc.com
877.506.6117

Xcel Energy
Tim Carlsgaard
612.330.7697

Real estate acquisition work to begin in May

MADISON, Wis. – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin today approved the formal order outlining the requirements that must be met in the construction of the 345,000-volt Badger Coulee Transmission Line. Project partners American Transmission Co. and Xcel Energy will begin contacting landowners along the approximately 180-mile line in May to begin the real estate acquisition process. The project, which will electrically connect the La Crosse area to northern Dane County, will help ensure electric reliability for communities throughout western Wisconsin and improve access to lower-cost power and renewable energy.

While construction is not set to begin until spring 2016, negotiations with landowners will begin next month to acquire easements along the route. Negotiations, along with construction, will be sequenced over eight segments, working from south to north.

“Landowners who live along the route in Dane, Columbia and a portion of northeastern Sauk County soon will receive information about easement negotiations as well as their rights under Wisconsin law,” said ATC Real Estate Manager Sarah Justus. “Negotiations are very important to resolving landowner questions and concerns specific to individual properties.”

“We look forward to continuing our discussion with landowners,” said Xcel Siting and Land Rights Manager Sarah Schwartz. “Public input was critical in identifying a route, which resulted in a line that will use existing utility and highway corridors for more than 90 percent of the approved route.”

The project’s end points are Xcel Energy’s new Briggs Road Substation near Holmen and ATC’s North Madison Substation in the Town of Vienna, continuing to ATC’s Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton.

This project has been designated a Multi-Value Project by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator because it will enable the delivery of energy in support of reliability, economic and public policy benefits. The $580 million estimated project cost will be shared among all electric users in MISO’s footprint, which includes 15 Midwestern states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. The project is expected to be placed in service in 2018.

Note to editors:
A map of the approved route and additional project information are available at www.BadgerCoulee.com.

About ATC
American Transmission Co. is a Wisconsin-based company that owns and operates the electric transmission system in portions of the Upper Midwest. Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, ATC has invested $3.5 billion to improve the adequacy and reliability of its infrastructure. ATC now has $3.8 billion in assets, including more than 9,530 miles of transmission lines and 530 substations. The company is a member of the MISO regional transmission organization, and provides nondiscriminatory service to all customers, supporting effective competition in energy markets without favoring any market participant. For more information, visit our website at www.atcllc.com.

About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company, with retail operations in eight Western and Midwestern states, including Wisconsin. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis, and Wisconsin-Michigan operating company headquarters are located in Eau Claire, Wis. For more information about Xcel Energy visit www.xcelenergy.com.

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Monroe County-Council Creek transmission line project is in service http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/monroe-county-council-creek-transmission-line-project-is-in-service/ Wed, 22 Apr 2015 15:22:27 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5298 Project improves electric reliability in western Wisconsin communities

MADISON, Wis. – American Transmission Co. on Monday placed into service a transmission line project that will strengthen electric reliability and improve access to lower cost energy in the region. The project involved building a new substation in Tomah, upgrading an approximately 17-mile, 69,000-volt electric transmission line from the Monroe County Substation in Sparta to the Council Creek Substation in Tomah and adding a 161-kV circuit to the line.

“This project is certainly a team effort, and a big thanks goes out to the other four utilities involved – Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Oakdale Electric Cooperative and Dairyland Power Cooperative – whose high level of coordination and flexibility helped make it a success,” said Andy Schaeve, ATC project manager. “I also would like to thank the construction crews who worked more than 80,000 hours on this project over a span of 18 months with no lost-time injuries.”

ATC filed an application to construct the project with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in July 2010, and received approval in November 2012. The project is projected to come within the PSC-approved budget of approximately $49 million.

Note to editors: A map and additional project information is available at atc-projects.com.

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ATC employees celebrate Earth Day through service http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-employees-celebrate-earth-day-through-service/ Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:52:33 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5291 ATC employees removing invasive speciesWe’re gearing up to celebrate Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22, with a variety of activities for our inaugural Earth Day of Caring. Employees in our Kingsford, Mich., office will assist the Dickinson Conservation District plant white pine seedlings and help prepare seedlings and fruit trees for sale in early May. The Baird Creek Foundation in Green Bay will benefit from our De Pere employees who will go on the prowl for invasive species along a popular parkway. Pewaukee employees will join thousands of other volunteers organized by Milwaukee Riverkeeper to remove trash and perform spring clean-up along rivers in the metro area. Getting dirty and having fun while restoring and maintaining the Aldo Leopold Nature Center’s prairie, marsh and woodlands will keep our Madison and Cottage Grove employees busy.

Our environmental commitment is woven into the fabric of ATC. We continually balance our responsibility to ensure electric reliability with environmental stewardship in our transmission line projects, community outreach and right-of-way maintenance activities.

You can read more about our stewardship connections in our 2014 Environmental Annual Report.

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ATC’s new CEO is a familiar face http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atcs-new-ceo-is-a-familiar-face/ Mon, 13 Apr 2015 18:09:56 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5272 American Transmission Co. names Mike Rowe as new CEODuring their April meeting, the American Transmission Co. Board of Directors selected ATC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Rowe to serve as ATC’s next president and chief executive officer.

Rowe has been with ATC for more than eight years. He joined the company in January 2006 as vice president of Construction, and in 2012 was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer with responsibility for Asset Management and System Operations. In May 2014 he also assumed overall responsibility for System Planning. Under Rowe’s direction, ATC put processes in place that helped the company complete more than $2 billion in projects on time, within budget and delivering value to its customers.

Outgoing President, CEO and Chairman John Procario, who announced last year his plans to retire, will hand over the reins to Rowe on May 1. To ensure a smooth transition, Procario will serve as executive chairman until his retirement on July 31, and will continue as chair of the ATC board through the end of 2015.

Congratulations to Mike Rowe on his new role!

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American Transmission Co. names Mike Rowe as new CEO http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/rowe_ceo/ Mon, 13 Apr 2015 18:09:53 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5269 American Transmission Co. names Mike Rowe as new CEOProcario to retire in July; Rowe promoted from chief operating officer

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Mike Rowe, executive vice president and chief operating officer of American Transmission Co., will become the company’s president and chief executive officer, effective May 1, 2015. Current President, CEO and Chairman John Procario has led ATC since 2009, and announced last year his plans to retire. To ensure a smooth transition, Procario will serve as executive chairman until his retirement on July 31; and he will continue as chair of the ATC board through the end of 2015.

Rowe has been with ATC for more than eight years. He joined the company as vice president of Construction, and subsequently assumed responsibility for Asset Management, System Operations and Transmission Planning. In 2012, Rowe was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer. He serves on the board of the Midwest Reliability Organization.

Previously Rowe served as director of Engineering & Asset Management for Kansas City Power & Light. Prior to that, Rowe spent 22 years with Commonwealth Edison in Chicago, where he was director of Project Management, responsible for its annual construction program focusing on infrastructure upgrades in Chicago and generating plant switchyards.

Rowe received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1982 and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago in 1988.

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ATC seeks approval to rebuild 14-mile, 138-kV transmission line http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-seeks-approval-to-rebuild-14-mile-138-kv-transmission-line/ Thu, 09 Apr 2015 19:31:02 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5258 Project needed to replace aging lines, strengthen area reliability

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. today filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to rebuild an existing 14-mile, 138,000-volt transmission line in southeastern Wisconsin. The proposed St. Martins-Edgewood-Mukwonago Rebuild Project runs from the St. Martins Substation in Franklin to the Edgewood Substation in Big Bend and continues on to the Mukwonago Substation, in Mukwonago.

“The lattice tower structures, which are approximately 90 years old, will be replaced with steel single-pole structures; and the wires also will be replaced,” said Mary Carpenter, senior local relations representative for ATC. “The new poles will be placed within a few feet of the existing structures, and no new right-of-way is anticipated for the project.”

Regulatory approval of this project is expected in fall 2015 with construction beginning in 2017 to meet an in-service date of 2018.

Note to editors: Additional details are available on the PSC’s website under Docket No. 137-CE-180. A map of the proposed project and additional information can found at www.atc-projects.com.

 

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ATC project to improve electric reliability for Green Lake, Fond du Lac counties http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-project-to-improve-electric-reliability-for-green-lake-fond-du-lac-counties/ Tue, 07 Apr 2015 19:33:39 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5253 PSC approves 69,000-volt transmission line in area

MADISON, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has received approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to build a new 7-mile, 69,000-volt transmission line from the Fairwater Substation in Fairwater to the Mackford Prairie Substation in the Town of Mackford.

Additionally, 18 miles of 69-kV line from Ripon to County Road H north of Markesan will be retired. The project also will involve stringing new wires and replacing aging transmission poles with new steel poles on approximately 6 miles of 69-kV transmission lines in the area.

“The line was built in the 1950s and needs improvements to ensure electric reliability in the area,” said Jon Callaway, ATC local relations representative.

Construction is planned to begin in March 2016 to meet an in-service date of Sept. 2017. The estimated cost of the project is $24 million.

Additional details are available on the PSC website, psc.wi.gov, under Docket No. 137-CE-175.

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PSC signals approval for Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/psc-signals-approval-for-badger-coulee-transmission-line-project/ Thu, 26 Mar 2015 19:46:03 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5210 PSC commissioners verbally approve Northern Route at open meeting; final order will be issued by April 24, 2015

MADISON, Wis. – Following more than four years of public involvement and regulatory review, the merits of the 345,000-volt Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project were discussed today by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. At an open meeting, the PSC commissioners agreed with the project’s need and benefits outlined by American Transmission Co. and Xcel Energy for the approximately 180-mile line, which will electrically connect the La Crosse area to northern Dane County. The next step is for the Commissioners’ discussion to be documented in a written order and then approved by the Commissioners at an open meeting before April 24, 2015.

“We appreciate the public’s active involvement throughout our public outreach and the regulatory review process,” said ATC Manager of Environmental and Local Relations Greg Levesque. “Public input helps identify ways to avoid and minimize environmental and community impacts. We will continue to communicate with affected property owners and communities in the years to come to ensure the safe construction of the line.”

During the meeting, PSC commissioners selected the Northern Route, which was one of the two options submitted by the applicants. More than 90 percent of the Northern Route uses existing utility and Interstate or U.S. highway corridors. The project’s end points are Xcel Energy’s new Briggs Road Substation near Holmen and ATC’s North Madison Substation in the Town of Vienna, continuing to ATC’s Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton. The PSC’s order for the project, including any minor route adjustments or conditions ATC and Xcel Energy must meet to construct the project, will be issued by April 24, 2015.

This project has been designated a Multi-Value Project by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator because it will enable the delivery of energy in support of reliability, economic and public policy benefits. The $580 million estimated project cost will be shared among all electric users in MISO’s footprint, which includes 15 Midwestern states and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

“We are pleased that the PSC has recognized the need for and benefits of this project.” said Xcel Energy Manager, Regional Transmission Initiatives Kyle Neidermire. “This project will help ensure electric reliability and provide access to lower-cost power and renewable energy for all electric users in the region.”

ATC and Xcel Energy will begin reaching out to impacted property owners along the selected route this year. Project construction is expected to begin in 2016 to meet an in-service date of 2018.

Note to editors:

A map of the proposed route options and additional project information are available at http://www.badgercoulee.com/.

ATC and Xcel Energy’s application and documents associated with the regulatory review process are available at http://www.psc.wi.gov/ under Docket No. 5-CE-142.

About ATC
American Transmission Co. is a Wisconsin-based company that owns and operates the electric transmission system in portions of the Upper Midwest. Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, ATC has invested $3.5 billion to improve the adequacy and reliability of its infrastructure. ATC now has $3.8 billion in assets, including more than 9,530 miles of transmission lines and 530 substations. The company is a member of the MISO regional transmission organization, and provides nondiscriminatory service to all customers, supporting effective competition in energy markets without favoring any market participant. For more information, visit our website at www.atcllc.com.

About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company, with retail operations in eight Western and Midwestern states, including Wisconsin. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis, and Wisconsin-Michigan operating company headquarters are located in Eau Claire, Wis. For more information about Xcel Energy visit www.xcelenergy.com.

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2014 annual report features best-in-class operations, community involvement, environmental stewardship http://www.atcllc.com/blog/2014-annual-report-features-best-in-class-operations-community-involvement-environmental-stewardship/ Fri, 20 Mar 2015 17:53:29 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5187 AnnualReport-2014Each year, American Transmission Co. issues an Annual Report that highlights construction and operations, project updates, financial information and more.

2014 highlights include:

Operational excellence: We earned a “best in class” performance rating for 100- to 161-kilovolt circuits in a longitudinal industry study and ranked in the top 10 percent for 345- to 500-kV circuits.

Improved electric reliability, innovative technology: A project near St. Ignace, Mich., to better manage the flow of electricity between Upper and Lower Michigan. The flow-control device, one of only three such facilities in the country, began providing geographically widespread reliability benefits soon after it began commercial operation.

Environmental activities above and beyond the lines: Stewardship efforts and work this year included a study of bee habitat and behavior in transmission line corridors, projects to curb the spread of invasive species and the company’s Avian Protection Program.

Giving back: Employees are at the heart of the company’s community relations; more than 100 employees participated in United Way Days of Caring activities around the state. ATC connects with communities in other ways, including sponsorships benefiting Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Junior Achievement, the Urban League and the YMCA. The company contributed $600,000 to more than 500 charitable and community programs in the area it serves.

 

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ATC releases 2014 Annual Report http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-releases-2014-annual-report/ Fri, 20 Mar 2015 17:49:04 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5185 Features best-in-class operations, community involvement, environmental stewardship

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Innovation and excellence are the themes highlighted in American Transmission Co.’s 2014 annual report, available at the company’s website, www.atcllc.com, today.

The transmission-only electric utility earned a “best in class” performance rating for 100- to 161-kilovolt circuits in a longitudinal industry study and ranked in the top 10 percent for 345- to 500-kV circuits. Company investments in its construction program included an innovative project near St. Ignace, Mich., to better manage the flow of electricity between Upper and Lower Michigan. The flow-control device, one of only three such facilities in the country, began providing geographically widespread reliability benefits soon after it began commercial operation.

Also featured in the report are a number of environmental stewardship activities that “go above and beyond the lines,” including a study of bee habitat and behavior in transmission line corridors, projects to curb the spread of invasive species and the company’s Avian Protection Program.

Employees are at the heart of the company’s community relations; more than 100 employees participated in United Way Days of Caring activities around the state. ATC connects with communities in other ways, including sponsorships benefiting Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Junior Achievement, the Urban League and the YMCA. The company contributed $600,000 to more than 500 charitable and community programs in the area it serves.

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ATC receives award for supporting programs at Milwaukee County Zoo http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-receives-award-for-supporting-programs-at-milwaukee-county-zoo/ Mon, 16 Mar 2015 15:21:16 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5172 Now we know how big an elephant’s footprint really is. 2015_ZooAward_group-web The award even has a real African elephant footprint. We’re proud to support the important education and conservation work the Zoological Society of Milwaukee provides to the community.

Over the past decade, ATC has sponsored Party for the Planet, a two-day event that celebrates Earth Day and Migratory Bird Day. The event helps educate zoo visitors about environmental stewardship with fun, interactive activities. Our exhibit allows visitors to compare their wingspan to those of a bald eagle, whooping crane, osprey and black crow. ATC strives to minimize the impact that transmission line construction and operation have on wildlife throughout our service area with our Avian Protection program.2015_ZooAward_wingspan

Last year, a local Cub Scout troop helped Milwaukee County Zoo Forester Alex Krutsch and other volunteers plant more than 100 native trees and shrubs representing 13 different species on the zoo grounds. ATC provided the zoo with assistance for removing damaged vegetation and invasive species and replacing them with native trees and shrubs. Restoration of this area was done to help to diversify plant and animal species, improve air quality, reduce the zoo’s carbon footprint and enhance the beauty of the zoo. ATC supports the planting of trees and vegetation a safe distance from transmission lines to help ensure public safety and ensure electric system reliability. You can learn more about it by checking out our Grow Smart program.2015_ZooAward_CubScouts

Watch a short video to see the fun we had at the Zoo during Party for the Planet last year.

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Paris-Albers transmission line placed into service http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/paris-albers-transmission-line-placed-into-service/ Fri, 13 Mar 2015 19:13:38 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5162 Project enhances safety, reliability

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. today energized the Paris-Albers Rebuild Project in Kenosha County. The 138,000-volt, 12.5-mile line, which runs from the Paris Substation in Paris to the Albers Substation in Kenosha, will enhance electric reliability for southeastern Wisconsin.

Seventy-seven aging, wood transmission poles were replaced with new wood and steel structures and the old wires were replaced with new wires. No new right-of-way was needed for the project, and the new poles were placed within a few feet of the existing poles.

“This project will help ensure safe and reliable transmission operations in the future and adequate clearances between the wires and the ground,” said Mary Carpenter, senior local relations representative for ATC.

ATC received approval for the project from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in spring 2014, and construction began in fall 2014. The project was completed on time and is projected to come in under the PSC-approved budget of $11.5 million.

A map of the project and additional information can be found at atc-projects.com.

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Celebrating National Engineers Week http://www.atcllc.com/blog/celebrating-national-engineers-week/ Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:15:57 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5138 Brian and John enjoy collaborating on a project.

Brian and John, design engineering, enjoy collaborating on a project.

It’s National Engineers Week and we’re proud to employ a pretty exceptional amount of engineers per capita at American Transmission Co.

If you’re walking the floors of our offices, about one in every four employees is an electrical, civil, industrial or other type of engineer. And while the rest of the world may think of gym class when you say PE, we instantly envision the Professional Engineer designation.

Our engineers help manage construction projects, operate the grid, plan for future transmission upgrades and more.

If you’re an engineer looking for a Great Place to Work®, join our talent network and check out some of our current openings:

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New electrical facilities approved for Brillion Iron Works http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/new-electrical-facilities-approved-for-brillion-iron-works/ Fri, 13 Feb 2015 19:25:42 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5130 American Transmission Co. to build new substation, short power lines for local reliability

DE PERE, Wis. – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has approved plans for $14 million in electrical transmission improvements in the area of Brillion Iron Works to support the local distribution system owned and operated by Wisconsin Public Service Corp.

The project will involve building a new substation on BIW property, a new 0.3-mile 69,000 volt line to connect the foundry to the new substation, along with an extension of a double-circuit 138,000/69,000 volt line to the new substation. Additional work also will be required at the Glenview Substation in Brillion.

The ATC project is part of an asset renewal process being undertaken by WPS to address load growth at BIW. Currently, BIW is served by a single electrical line; the new project will supply the foundry with additional lines, greatly improving reliability for this large regional employer.

Construction on the ATC facilities will begin in summer 2015 and the project is expected to be placed into service in August 2016.

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ATC receives Innovations in Urban Forestry Award http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-receives-innovations-in-urban-forestry-award/ Thu, 05 Feb 2015 19:31:18 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5121 Community Planting Program helps beautify communities

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council, advisory council to the Department of Natural Resources, has selected American Transmission Co. to receive its annual Innovations in Urban Forestry Award. The award was presented to ATC for its Grow Smart Community Planting Program, which over the past two years has awarded $130,000 to more than 90 communities for planting projects.

“Our Community Planting Program connects us with the communities that we serve,” said Mark Davis, ATC vice president of asset management. “It helps to beautify the communities within our service area and supports our obligation to ensure the reliability of the electric transmission system by encouraging plantings that are compatible with the safe operation of the electric transmission system.”

Now in its second year, ATC’s Community Planting Program provides eligible municipalities and counties in its service area with funding for planting projects on public property. To qualify, applicant communities must commit to complying with ATC’s maintenance standards for all current and future planting plans and urban forestry activities near high-voltage electric transmission lines.

The Community Planting Program is part of ATC’s Grow Smart initiative – a program that promotes planting a safe distance from transmission lines to help ensure public safety and electric system reliability. The Community Planting Program reinforces this initiative by encouraging the planting of tall-growing trees and other vegetation outside transmission line rights-of-way.

About the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council
The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council is an appointed group of urban forestry experts who advise the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on the best ways to preserve, protect, expand and improve Wisconsin’s urban and community forest resources. More information about the council can be found here.

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ATC named one of the nation’s top workplaces http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-named-one-of-the-nations-top-workplaces/ Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:29:52 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5105 Great Place to Work® and FORTUNE magazine-published list ranks top 15 manufacturing & production workplaces in the country

PEWAUKEE, WIS. — American Transmission Co. ranks as one of the nation’s top workplaces, having been chosen as one of the People’s Picks: 15 Great Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production by Great Place to Work®’s Great Rated!™. This honor comes after ATC last fall was named one of the top 25 workplaces in the United States on FORTUNE magazine’s 2014 Best Small & Medium Workplaces list.

The 15 Great Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production is a “best of the best” ranking. Of the 600 companies surveyed by Great Place to Work®, 44 were in the Manufacturing & Production category. ATC and the other 14 winning companies in this category were selected based on the evaluations of nearly 34,000 employees from companies across the country who were surveyed to get their assessment of their workplaces and employers. Employers were evaluated through Great Place to Work®’s Trust Index© survey, and the companies with the highest levels of trust, camaraderie and pride among their employees are the ones that rank on this list.

“We are honored to again be named among the best places to work in the country,” said ATC President and CEO John Procario. “We strive to be the employer of choice for talented and dedicated people.”

The full category in which ATC participated was the 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, with 650 employees, was formed in 2001 as the first multi-state, transmission-only utility in the country.

FORTUNE Magazine published the complete list of People’s Picks: 15 Great Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production. Click here for the entire list and here for ATC’s company profile.

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Final route options for power line project to be presented at ATC public open house http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/final-route-options-for-power-line-project-to-be-presented-at-atc-public-open-house/ Tue, 13 Jan 2015 16:06:14 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5103 Proposed project will be submitted in April to state regulators for review

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. is hosting a final public open house on Tuesday, Jan. 27 for the proposed Spring Valley-North Lake Geneva Electric Reliability Project. The open house gives area residents and other stakeholders the opportunity to review the proposed substation location and preferred and alternate routes for the 25-mile, 138-kilovolt transmission line from southern Walworth County to western Kenosha County, Wis. ATC plans to submit its application to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in April 2015 for permission to build the line and substation. If approved, the PSC will select one route to be built.

The public is invited to attend the open house on Tuesday, Jan. 27, any time between 4 and 7:30 p.m. at the Wheatland Center Elementary School Cafeteria, located at 6606 368th Ave. in Burlington.

“The two proposed routes represent the options the project team members believe best meet state routing and siting criteria based on impacts, costs, constructability, operation and maintenance,” said Mary Carpenter, senior local relations representative.

The electric transmission system in the area is vulnerable to low voltages and power outages and can no longer adequately support the lower-voltage distribution system. ATC studies indicate that the project would strengthen the electric transmission system to meet the growing use of electricity. This estimated $72 million to $92 million project would provide system redundancy and allow for maintenance outages when repairs are needed.

The Spring Valley-North Lake Geneva Electric Reliability Project was introduced to the public in early 2013. Since then, the ATC project team has been gathering field data and public input and evaluating community and environmental impacts to determine the most suitable route options for a proposed transmission line and substation. Preliminary transmission line corridors and routes were presented to the public during open houses in January 2013, and again in March 2014. If state regulators approve the project, construction would begin in 2017 to meet an in-service date of 2019.

Note to editors: A map showing the two proposed route options can be found here. Additional information about the project is available at www.atc-projects.com.

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ATC awards $55,000 to communities for vegetation plantings http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-awards-55000-to-communities-for-vegetation-plantings/ Mon, 05 Jan 2015 21:04:12 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=5101 Program continues to support beautification efforts, electric reliability

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has awarded $55,000 to 33 communities in its service area to plant trees and other vegetation. The Community Planting Program, now in its second year, supports the reliability of the electric transmission system and helps to beautify communities by promoting plantings located outside of transmission line rights-of-way.

“It’s ATC’s responsibility to keep trees and brush out of the transmission line rights-of-way for public safety and electric system reliability,” said ATC Environmental and Local Relations Manager Greg Levesque. “Collaborating with communities in our service territory to educate them about vegetation growth in the rights-of-way helps ATC maintain the safety and electric reliability of the grid.”

Municipalities and counties received funding ranging from $500 to $4,000 for planting projects on public property where ATC facilities exist. 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.

The Community Planting Program is part of ATC’s Grow Smart initiative – a program that promotes planting native, low-growing vegetation near transmission line rights-of-way. Trees and other vegetation purchased by communities through the Community Planting Program reinforces this initiative by encouraging the planting of tall-growing trees and other vegetation outside the transmission line rights-of-way.

The 2014 Community Planting Program funding recipients include:

Algoma, Wis. Lisbon, Wis. Rib Mountain, Wis.
Amherst, Wis. Manitowoc, Wis. Rhinelander, Wis.
Bayside, Wis. Menasha, Wis. Spencer, Wis.
Bellevue, Wis. Mequon, Wis. Stevens Point, Wis.
Bristol, Wis. Merrill, Wis. Waterford, Wis.
Brooklyn, Wis. Oakdale, Wis. Waukesha, Wis.
Cambridge, Wis. Oconto, Wis. Waupaca, Wis.
Fond du Lac, Wis. Ozaukee County, Wis. Wescott, Wis.
Fort Atkinson, Wis. Pittsville, Wis. Wilson, Wis.
Gilman, Wis. Prairie du Chien, Wis. Winnebago County, Wis.
Kenosha County, Wis. Princeton, Wis. Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
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The power of giving http://www.atcllc.com/blog/the-power-of-giving/ Tue, 23 Dec 2014 16:30:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/the-power-of-giving/ It’s no secret that our employees love to give. As a company and individuals we support local organizations with our time, funds and in-kind donations. And while the first thing you think of when an electric utility comes to mind may not be fun, we like to weave it in whenever we can. Here’s how some employees are having a good time while giving back.

Banana phones and white elephants

Our real estate team raised a whopping $730 with its second annual White Elephant Auction at their holiday lunch. Manager of Real Estate Sarah Justus started the tradition last year; buying a number of wacky and wild items and encouraging her team to bid on them white elephant-style for charity.

“The generosity of my colleagues is amazing. It was very fun and personally gratifying to support such an inspirational organization,” said Justus.

This year’s beneficiary was Make-A-Wish®. Which item garnered the highest bid this time around? A banana phone secured by Real Estate Manager David Hollenberger for a generous donation.

Betting with baked goods

Three Madison, Wis., employees made the annual Second Harvest Foodbank Share Your Holidays food and fund drive a little more interesting by making a friendly baked goods wager. Each team captain bet their team would collect the most meals, with the winning team receiving baked goods from the second and third place team leaders. More than 1,850 meals were raised during the campaign.

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ATC files regulatory application for Branch River Substation http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-files-regulatory-application-for-branch-river-substation/ Wed, 10 Dec 2014 17:41:34 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4787 Transmission facilities in Manitowoc County will improve local electric reliability

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. is requesting approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to build a new substation and connecting transmission lines in the Manitowoc County Town of Franklin. The facilities will support the reliable operation of the high-voltage transmission system that provides electric service to eastern Wisconsin.

If approved, construction would begin in August 2016 and the project would be placed into service in late 2018. The estimated cost of the project ranges from $41 million to $46 million, depending on routing and site selection.

The application and other documents to be used in the regulatory review can be found at the PSC’s website, http://psc.wi.gov. Enter docket number 137-CE-176.

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ATC project recycling efforts really pay off http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-project-recycling-efforts-really-pay-off/ Mon, 24 Nov 2014 22:32:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/atc-project-recycling-efforts-really-pay-off/ Metal from this disassembled, 60-year-old transmission structure and glass from its insulators will be recycled.

Environmental stewardship is a core value at American Transmission Co. that saves valuable resources and helps protect the environment. Last year, ATC and its contractors achieved an incredible rate of re-using or recycling 99 percent of non-hazardous construction waste. This included more than 4,864 tons of various metals, glass, wood, concrete and cardboard. This year to date, ATC and its contractors have recycled more than 3,476 tons of material and collected $667,363 through construction project recycling efforts.


 Wood decking used during construction, as seen in the above photo of the Milwaukee Zoo Interchange Project, is an example of ATC project material that is re-used or recycled.

Learn more about ATC’s environmental commitment.


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Preparations underway for ATC power line construction http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/preparations-underway-for-atc-power-line-construction/ Mon, 17 Nov 2014 17:35:59 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4762 Holmes-Old Mead Road project set for Menominee, Delta counties

DE PERE, Wis. – Real estate and tree clearing activities are underway along the 58-mile corridor of American Transmission Co.’s 138,000-volt transmission line project in Menominee and Delta counties in Michigan.

“About 60 percent of the easements we need for the new transmission line have been acquired,” said Brett French, senior external relations manager for ATC. “A major milestone was achieved when we acquired the easement rights of about 20 miles of the corridor from the state of Michigan. This portion of the new line will be built in an abandoned railroad corridor and will be transformed into a recreational trail after the power line is built.”

Surveying, staking, and brush and tree clearing are underway in the corridor where ATC holds easement rights in preparation for the start of construction in January 2015. Contract crews from AECOM, Asplundh Tree Expert Co. and MJ Electric are performing the work. Activities in the corridor will be limited during the gun deer hunting season through Nov. 30.

The new line is needed to improve electric reliability in the area. The project was first announced as part of ATC’s Bay Lake Project in spring 2012. The new line will run between the Holmes Substation along the Menominee River and the Old Mead Road Substation near the New Page mill in Escanaba. The project was approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission in January 2014.

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ATC wraps up electric work in Milwaukee’s Zoo Interchange http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-wraps-up-electric-work-in-milwaukees-zoo-interchange/ Thu, 13 Nov 2014 17:49:22 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4751 Transmission line and substation work completed two months ahead of schedule

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has completed its work in the Zoo Interchange to relocate and erect new electric transmission infrastructure to accommodate the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s interchange expansion plans.

ATC began the transmission line portion of the project in June 2013 to relocate seven overhead 138-kilovolt transmission lines and erect 59 single pole structures to replace 58 lattice towers. Just over 11 miles of new wire were strung from south of Greenfield Avenue along the east side of USH 45/I-894 in West Allis, north to the Zoo Interchange and then west along I-94 to ATC’s Bluemound Substation.

The project also involved modifications at two nearby substations and expansion of the 96th Street Substation, which supports both the new lines for the Zoo Interchange project and ATC’s Western Milwaukee County Electric Reliability Project, which is slated to be complete in spring 2015.

“Residents and commuters were able to watch the transformation over the past year and a half while we removed the old structures, installed the new poles and strung wire across six lanes of traffic – all while the interchange was kept open to motorists,” said Barbara Mikolajczyk, ATC major project manager. “We were able to complete our work more than two months ahead of schedule because there was great communication and collaboration among the DOT and the multiple utilities involved.”

ATC’s restoration work may continue through spring 2015 – removing the former lattice towers and construction mats, and completing final grading of the area.

“Because ATC completed its portion of the project ahead of schedule, that helps our scheduling with other contractors this winter and next spring,” said DOT Construction Project Manager Mike Burns.

The cost of ATC’s Zoo Interchange project work totaled $50 million.

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ATC wraps up electric work in Zoo Interchange http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-wraps-up-electric-work-in-zoo-interchange/ Thu, 13 Nov 2014 17:44:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/atc-wraps-up-electric-work-in-zoo-interchange/

American Transmission Co. has just completed its work in the Milwaukee Zoo Interchange to relocate and erect new electric transmission infrastructure to accommodate the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s interchange expansion plans.

ATC began the transmission line portion of the project in June 2013 to relocate seven overhead 138-kilovolt transmission lines and erect 59 single pole structures to replace 58 lattice towers. 
“Residents and commuters were able to watch the transformation over the past year and a half while we removed the old structures, installed the new poles and strung wire across six lanes of traffic – all while the interchange was kept open to motorists,” said Barbara Mikolajczyk, ATC major project manager. “We were able to complete our work more than two months ahead of schedule because there was great communication and collaboration among the DOT and the multiple utilities involved.”

“Because ATC completed its portion of the project ahead of schedule, that helps our scheduling with other contractors this winter and next spring,” said DOT Construction Project Manager Mike Burns.

Project highlights include:

  • Line energized and project complete: November 2014 – two-and-half months ahead of schedule
  • Line length: approximately 11 miles 
  • Voltage: 138,000 volts
  • 58 lattice structures removed (circa 1954); equals 1.24 million pounds of steel removed
  • 59 new single-pole structures erected; equals 2.3 million pounds of steel installed
  • 40.5 miles of wire removed and new wires installed
  • Transmission pole height: 115 to 180 feet; new poles are 50-60 feet taller than the lattice structures
  • Tallest transmission pole: 180 feet with five sections, nine feet in diameter at the base and weight of 130,000 pounds
  • Longest span between two transmission poles: 1,000 feet
  • Project cost: approximately $50 million
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ATC employees volunteer during United Way Days of Caring http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-employees-volunteer-during-united-way-days-of-caring/ Fri, 24 Oct 2014 20:36:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/atc-employees-volunteer-during-united-way-days-of-caring/

During American Transmission Co.’s United Way Days of Caring this year, more than 100 employees volunteered for projects at various agencies. In the span of a few short days, employees helped United Way organizations accomplish a great deal, while at the same time learning how much help is needed in the community each day.

Day of Caring volunteers were busy at Feeding America

ATC’s Day of Caring volunteers from the Pewaukee office were very busy sorting and labeling food for the hungry at Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is a food bank that distributes more than 22 million pounds of food a year to 1,000 pantries, meal programs and other nonprofit agencies that serve 330,000 people in eastern Wisconsin. The Milwaukee distribution center provides food to nearly 800 nonprofit programs in nine counties. Representatives at the center shared that they could have a group like ATC’s help out every day.
 
Employees help Interfaith clean up gardens before winter
You would have thought that an army went in to clean up the gardens at Interfaith’s Washington Park Senior Center in Milwaukee, Wis. However, it was a powerful group of 10 ATC employees who pulled weeds, trimmed bushes, transplanted and cut down perennials to make the gardens look beautiful.
Since 1975, Interfaith has established many programs focused on quality services, social opportunities and valuable resources to enhance the welfare of older adults and family caregivers who support them. The community center offers a warm place to gather for older adults to enjoy the company of friends, take exercise classes, use computers and enjoy many other group activities along with the wonderful gardens ATC’s volunteers helped spruce up.
 

Volunteers at LifeStriders help with stables and horse riding lessons

It was rainy, but LifeStriders Therapeutic Riding Center, located on a farm in Waukesha County, Wis., had plenty of indoor work for our volunteers to do. ATC employees helped with cleanup in the horse stables, organized equipment, created teaching tools for use during riding lessons and later assisted LifeStriders staff and other volunteers with riding lessons.

LifeStriders provides fun and interactive sessions to help children and adults with special needs experience the physical and mental benefits achieved through working with horses. They currently have 104 students enrolled in the program, which requires more than 300 volunteer hours each week, so the help of all volunteers is greatly appreciated.


Area was full of leaves at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary

ATC’s employees did a lot of raking during a fall clean up at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wis. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to give back to the community while they worked in the fresh air.

The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary is a beautiful 700 acre urban wildlife refuge featuring live animal exhibits, educational displays, miles of hiking/skiing trails and various wildlife viewing opportunities. It is home to the second largest wildlife rehabilitation program in Wisconsin, caring for more than 4,500 orphaned and injured animals annually.

 
Employees help build a brighter future for a Waukesha family 
Two groups of employees helped with siding, building a porch and constructing shelving for a Habitat for Humanity home in Waukesha, Wis.
Through volunteer labor and tax-deductible donations of money, land and materials, Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County builds or rehabilitates houses in partnership with families who need an affordable home.
Group works through icy conditions to sort food
Working in a cold room, ATC volunteers from Madison and Cottage Grove, Wis., sorted 28,500 pounds of frozen food at the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin.
In one year, Second Harvest and its partners provide more than 12 million meals to those facing hunger.


 Many cats will have a cozy place to sleep thanks to ATC volunteers
 

Volunteers at the Dane County Humane Society had fun while they made more than 45 cat beds. The group received a tour of the facility and donated needed supplies to the organization.
 
DCHS is an open admission shelter that accepts animals that need assistance no matter their age, health status or temperament. DCHS places all healthy or treatable cats and dogs in new homes.
 
ATC employees had a great time during the Days of Caring for the United Way and truly enjoyed giving back to the communities where they live and work.

Watch a video to learn why ATC employees volunteered for the United Way.

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ATC Transmission System Assessment describes changing landscape http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-transmission-system-assessment-describes-changing-landscape/ Wed, 08 Oct 2014 18:33:58 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4697 Plans address generation changes, reliability requirements, industry dynamics

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co.’s 2014 10-Year Transmission System Assessment is now available and describes the need for continued investment to address not only reliability needs, but also to respond to an evolving regional energy market and changes in public policy concerning air quality rules and renewable energy standards.

“The energy landscape in which we operate today looks vastly different than it did when we began operations in 2001,” said Ron Snead, vice president of system planning. “The grid is being asked to perform in ways it was not originally intended. We continue to work with our interconnected customers to meet their reliability needs and to share information about how changes in their operations impact our system.”

The planning analysis calls for $3.3 billion to $3.9 billion in infrastructure investment, including $1.4 billion in specific network projects, $1.2 billion in maintenance, $500 million in regional Multi-Value Projects, and $200 million to $800 million in other capital projects.

“Transmission remains a good value for electricity consumers,” Snead said, noting that transmission costs within the ATC service territory remain about 8 to 9 percent of a retail customer’s electric bill.

To read the full report, go to www.atc10yearplan.com.

 

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ATC completes two grid projects in eastern Upper Peninsula http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-completes-two-grid-projects-in-eastern-upper-peninsula/ Wed, 08 Oct 2014 15:15:02 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4693 High-voltage direct-current device, rebuilt lines improve reliability, operations

DE PERE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has improved the reliability of the electrical grid in the Upper Peninsula with the completion of two projects in the St. Ignace, Michigan, area.

A new high voltage, direct-current flow control device and associated substation also were placed into commercial operation in late summer. The innovative device allows operators to better manage the flow of power into and out of the Upper Peninsula, strengthening local-area electric reliability. The project was built by ABB, an international power and technology group. The facilities are located in Moran Township, just north of U.S. Highway 2 west of St. Ignace. The project also was completed slightly under budget at a cost of $125 million.

“The HVDC device helped us avoid two near-certain outages since it began operation,” said Paul Roehr, director of operations for ATC. Previously, the transmission facilities in the eastern U.P. were tied to Lower Michigan, and the western U.P. facilities to northern Wisconsin. The U.P. facilities were separated at a substation near Engadine because the system could not support the flow of power across the width of the peninsula. The HVDC device now provides the support to connect the two regions.

“An unplanned outage on transmission facilities in northern Wisconsin almost surely would have caused customers in the U.P. to lose service, but the HVDC device provided system support, maintaining reliability by allowing a continuous flow of power,” Roehr said. “In one of those instances, some customers in northern Wisconsin also would have been affected.”

Two 69,000-volt transmission lines that were built in the 1930s between St. Ignace and Rudyard also have been upgraded in a construction project that began in late 2012. The new lines are built to 138,000-volt standards, but continue to be operated at 69-kV. They operate more efficiently, reducing energy losses on the system and lowering operating and maintenance costs. They also provide more flexibility in routing power in the area. The project was completed slightly under budget at a cost of $43 million.

 

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ATC to discuss proposed transmission line in Fond du Lac County http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-to-discuss-proposed-transmission-line-in-fond-du-lac-county/ Tue, 07 Oct 2014 16:11:49 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4682 Final open house regarding the project will be Oct. 21 at the Eden Community Center

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – An informational open house will provide an opportunity for area landowners and members of the public to comment on American Transmission Co.’s proposal for a new 138,000-volt transmission line to connect to a new We Energies substation. ATC and We Energies held the first round of open houses in April 2014, after announcing the Creekview Interconnection Project to the public.

ATC staff, along with representatives from We Energies, will be at the Eden Community Center, located at 104 Pine St. in Eden, Wis., between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 21, to discuss the project plans – including proposed route options for the transmission line and a substation location.

The proposed We Energies substation, located approximately one mile southeast of the Village of Eden along County Highway F, is needed to support the low-voltage electric distribution system and improve overall electric system reliability in the region. To connect this new substation to the regional transmission system, ATC would build a transmission line either to the west, which would be 6.5 miles in length, or to the north of the proposed substation site, which would be 9.3 miles in length.

ATC will file an application in early 2015 with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for permission to build the transmission line. If approved, the PSC will determine the route of the transmission line, and construction would begin in fall 2016. If the west route is approved, the in-service date is expected to be June 2017. If the north route is approved, the in-service date is expected to be June 2018.

Mary Carpenter, senior local relations representative for ATC, said, “Additional power is needed in the area to serve We Energies customers. With a total estimated cost of $23 million, this project will provide system redundancy and allow equipment and facilities to be taken out of service when repairs are needed.”

“We look to the public, particularly people who may be impacted, to participate in the process by providing comments and input,” said Carpenter. “This information helps us finalize the proposed routes in alignment with our routing and siting criteria – including impacts, costs, operation, maintenance and overall constructability.”

Note to editors: A map and additional information about the Creekview Interconnection Project is available at www.atc-projects.com.

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 American Transmission Co. is a Wisconsin-based company that owns and operates the electric transmission system in portions of the Upper Midwest. Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, ATC has invested $3.2 billion to improve the adequacy and reliability of its infrastructure. ATC now is a $3.6 billion company with 9,530 miles of transmission lines and 530 substations. The company is a member of the MISO regional transmission organization, and provides nondiscriminatory service to all customers, supporting effective competition in energy markets without favoring any market participant. For more information, visit our website at www.atcllc.com.

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ATC named on Great Place to Work® 2014 Best Small & Medium Workplaces List http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-named-on-great-place-to-work-2014-best-small-medium-workplaces-list/ Thu, 18 Sep 2014 14:14:09 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4656 FORTUNE magazine-published list names the best workplaces in the countryGPTW

PEWAUKEE, WIS. — American Transmission Co. was named by Great Place to Work® as one of the best small and medium workplaces in the United States on their annual 2014 Best Small & Medium Workplaces list, published today in FORTUNE magazine.

ATC competed against hundreds of companies across the country to receive this honor. This is the first time ATC has been named to the list, a recognition that comes on the heels of being named as one of the 2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin.

ATC participated in a rigorous selection process, which included an employee survey and an in-depth questionnaire about benefits programs and company practices. Great Place to Work® evaluated each application based on five dimensions of a great workplace: credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie.

As ATC strives to become the premier national energy delivery company, surveys such as this help highlight how practices in place at ATC are experienced by employees.

“Every day, we strive to be a company where engaged and productive employees enjoy working. The best way to measure how we are doing is to ask employees for feedback,” said ATC President and CEO John Procario. “We are honored to be named among the best places to work in the country, most importantly because it is our employees’ assessment that put us there.”

Divided into two categories, small (25-250 employees) and medium (251-999 employees), the Best Small & Medium Workplaces list has recognized companies with exceptional workplace cultures for the past 11 years. Great Place to Work® has found that employees believe they work for great organizations when they consistently trust the people with whom they work, have pride in what they do and enjoy their coworkers.

FORTUNE Magazine published the complete list of Best Small & Medium Workplaces. Click here for the entire list of medium workplaces and here for ATC’s company profile.

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ATC named one of the best medium-sized companies in the U.S. http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-named-one-of-the-best-medium-sized-companies-in-the-u-s/ Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:51:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/atc-named-one-of-the-best-medium-sized-companies-in-the-u-s/

American Transmission Co. has been named one of the best medium workplaces on the 2014 Great
Place to Work® Best Small & Medium Workplaces list, published in FORTUNE magazine.
We competed against hundreds of companies across the country to receive this honor to rank in the 25 top medium-sized workplaces. This is the first time we have applied for and received this honor in our 13-year history.
 
The rigorous selection process included a written application, but the bulk of the weight of the application came from an employee survey about benefits programs and company practices. Seventy-one percent of ATC employees participated in the survey and their responses placed ATC in the 95 percentile for positive marks in the five dimensions of a great workplace: credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie.
“Every day, we strive to be a company where engaged and productive employees enjoy working. The best way to measure how we are doing is to ask employees for feedback,” said ATC President and CEO John Procario. “We are honored to be named among the best places to work in the country, most importantly because it is our employees’ assessment that put us there.”

Here are a few things that employees had to say which helped get ATC in the top 25:

  • “ATC puts a high emphasis on safety and is a steward of the environment.”
  • “I really enjoy the autonomy of my job. I am given all the resources, the time and the encouragement to function at a very high level. I feel I align well with ATC’s decisions and values, and that the company wants me to excel. Everybody is respected here.”
  • “The corporate culture is exceptionally supportive. People go out of their way to help one another. People are also polite and considerate. There are no organizational barriers to cooperation, so people easily work in informal teams across functional areas to get things done.”
  • “Ensuring electricity is reliable and affordable plays a huge part in our jobs and everyone in our service territory’s lives.”

Check out the 2014 Great Place to Work® Best Small & Medium Workplaces list, as published in FORTUNE magazine here.
Learn more about why ATC made the list in the Great Place to Work® Great Rated! Review.

Interested in working at ATC? Visit our careers page here.

ABOUT GREAT PLACE TO WORK: Great Place to Work® is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and employer branding programs, including Best Companies lists and workplace reviews, Great Place to Work® provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures.
In the United States, Great Place to Work® produces the annual FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list and the Great Place to Work® Best Small & Medium Workplaces list.Follow Great Place to Work® online at www.greatplacetowork.com and on Twitter at @GPTW_US. For information about global operations at Great Place to Work®, visit www.greatplacetowork.net.

ABOUT GREAT RATED!: The Great Place to Work® Model forms the basis of Great Rated!’s methodology, and is relied on internationally as the premiere assessment of employer culture. Great Rated!™ tells the story of workplace culture to job seekers from the viewpoint of a company’s own employees. Great Rated!™ reviews go well beyond a list of benefits or a handful of employee comments, to provide a comprehensive picture of what makes a company great. The site offers both ratings and reviews so that job seekers can easily compare the strengths and benefits across multiple organizations. Great Rated!™ works with a number of strategic partners including Simply Hired, and Digital First Media.

ABOUT FORTUNE: Fortune is a global business magazine that has been revered in its content and credibility since 1930. Published biweekly, every issue is completely saturated with profoundly deep and extensively detailed analyses of the entire field of business, including specific companies, tendencies, prominent people, and new ideas that are characterizing the modern world. Fortune magazine is particularly well-known for its exceptionally reliable annual rankings of companies. Examples of these highly researched features are the “Fortune 500,” which ranks the world’s companies by gross revenue, and the “Best Companies to Work For,” both of which have become industry benchmarks. This publication furthers understanding of the economy, provides implementable business strategy, and maximizes ability to make objective decisions. Fortune magazine is prized in its category of magazines and has been proven a reliable source of integral knowledge.



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ATC team takes on Briggs & Al’s Run & Walk for the kids http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-team-takes-on-briggs-als-run-walk-for-the-kids/ Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:49:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/atc-team-takes-on-briggs-als-run-walk-for-the-kids/ ATC’s All for The Children team lined up for Briggs & Al’s Run & Walk for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, to help kids receive care and services they need to improve their lives. Employees and family members had fun and raised almost $3,000 in addition to ATC’s bib sponsorship.

  It was chilly as ATC’s team warmed up for the event.


  Family members sporting their team T-shirts.

There was something for everyone, including an 8K run and a 5-mile or 3-mile walk through downtown Milwaukee. Live performers pumped up the crowd with a Radio Disney sing-a-long at the starting line on the Marquette University campus. Various musicians, cheerleaders and local residents were there to encourage the runners and walkers along the way. Afterwards, participants enjoyed music from Mat Kearney and other activities on the Summerfest grounds.


  Walkers take a moment to huddle up and smile.
ATC is proud to support Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and has been a sponsor of this event since 2011. The organization provides many services throughout Wisconsin, including health care, counseling, family resource centers and treatment foster care. Click here to see a map of communities in Wisconsin with CHW services. 

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ATC, ITC announce public open houses for Wisconsin portion of Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-itc-announce-public-open-houses-for-wisconsin-portion-of-cardinal-hickory-creek-transmission-line-project/ Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:51:53 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4623 New transmission line from Iowa to Wisconsin will provide reliability, economic and public policy benefits

MADISON, WIS. ─ American Transmission Co. and ITC Midwest LLC will host open houses to introduce to the public their plans for a new electric transmission line that would connect Dane County, Wisconsin, and Dubuque County, Iowa.

The Cardinal-Hickory Creek Project, previously called Cardinal Bluffs, would connect ATC’s Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton, Wisconsin,, with ITC’s proposed Hickory Creek Substation in Dubuque County, Iowa. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., the regional electric transmission organization, approved the need for the approximately 125-mile, 345,000-volt Cardinal-Hickory Creek project as part of a portfolio of 17 transmission line projects that were identified as Multi-Value Projects. These projects are expected to deliver multiple benefits to electric consumers across the Midwest region by improving electric system reliability, providing economic benefits to utilities and electric consumers, and expanding electric infrastructure to support public policy for greater use of renewable energy.

The open houses are the first step in a multi-year process required to seek regulatory approval for the line.

Dates and locations for open houses are listed below. Open houses are scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. at all locations. Attendees are encouraged to come at any time to speak with subject matter experts and learn more about the project; there will be no formal presentation.

Monday, Oct. 6
Grant County Fairgrounds-UW Extension Youth & Agriculture Center
916 East Elm St., Lancaster

Tuesday, Oct. 7
Belmont Convention Center & Banquet Hall
102 West Mound View Ave., Belmont

Wednesday, Oct. 8
Dodger Bowl Banquet Hall
318 King St., Dodgeville

Thursday, Oct. 9
Marriott Madison West – Ballroom-Salon D
1313 John Q. Hammons Drive, Middleton

“A route for the new power line has not yet been determined.  We look forward to meeting with the public and talking about their involvement in the routing and Wisconsin regulatory processes,” said Jon Callaway, ATC senior local relations representative. “ATC and ITC are beginning outreach in Wisconsin well ahead of filing an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.”

“Landowners and local officials have an important role to play in this process,” said Angela Jordan, ITC area manager for local government and community affairs. “These open houses are the first step in a long process of communications and dialogue with local landowners, citizens and other stakeholders about this important project.”

The project will require state regulatory approvals from Wisconsin and Iowa agencies as well as federal approvals from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers. ATC and ITC anticipate filing an application for the Wisconsin portion of the project with the PSCW in 2016. If the project is approved, construction in Wisconsin is expected to start in 2019 to meet an in-service date of 2020.

The total project is estimated to cost approximately $450 million at this time, although detailed engineering design cannot be performed until a specific route is determined. Because this project is designated by MISO as a Multi-Value Project that provides benefits across the Midwest, its costs will be spread across the MISO 11-state footprint in the Midwest. For more information, including a study area map, visit www.cardinal-hickorycreek.com.

# # #

About ATC
American Transmission Co. is a Wisconsin-based company that owns and operates the electric transmission system in portions of the Upper Midwest. Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, ATC has invested $3.2 billion to improve the adequacy and reliability of its infrastructure. ATC now is a $3.6 billion company with more than 9,500 miles of transmission lines and 530 substations. The company is a member of the MISO regional transmission organization, and provides nondiscriminatory service to all customers, supporting effective competition in energy markets without favoring any market participant. For more information, visit our website at www.atcllc.com.

About ITC Midwest
ITC Midwest LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp., the nation’s largest independent electricity transmission company. Through its regulated subsidiaries, ITC owns and operates high-voltage transmission lines in seven states, serving a combined peak load exceeding 26,000 megawatts along 15,000 circuit miles of transmission line. ITC Midwest operates more than 6,600 circuit miles of transmission lines in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Missouri, and holds utility status in Wisconsin. ITC Midwest maintains regional offices in Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Iowa City and Perry, Iowa; and Albert Lea and Lakefield, Minnesota. ITC’s focus on transmission and grid development drives operational excellence and delivers superior value for customers, communities and other stakeholders. For more information, please visit www.itctransco.com.

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Reconstruction to begin on Paris-Albers transmission line http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/reconstruction-to-begin-on-paris-albers-transmission-line/ Thu, 04 Sep 2014 19:53:09 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4610 PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. this month will begin the reconstruction of approximately 12.5 miles of 138,000-volt transmission lines in Kenosha County. The Paris-Albers Rebuild Project runs from the Paris Substation, located in the towns of Paris and Somers, Wisconsin, to the Albers substation in the City of Kenosha, Wisconsin. The existing transmission line was originally built in 1947, and this rebuild will allow the system to meet current and future electricity loads.

The construction is expected to be complete in early 2015, with an estimated cost of $11.5 million. Landowners along the right-of-way have been informed of the project, and ATC is working with them to access the right-of-way through their property if necessary.

Additional details are available on the PSC’s website under Docket No. 137-CE-174. A map of the proposed project and additional information can be found at www.atc-projects.com.

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A bird’s eye view of construction on the Zoo Interchange, Western Milwaukee County Electric Reliability projects http://www.atcllc.com/blog/a-birds-eye-view-of-construction-on-the-zoo-interchange-western-milwaukee-county-electric-reliability-projects/ Tue, 02 Sep 2014 18:36:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/a-birds-eye-view-of-construction-on-the-zoo-interchange-western-milwaukee-county-electric-reliability-projects/ We’re continuing to make progress on the Zoo Interchange Project, a project to relocate seven overhead 138-kilovolt transmission lines to accommodate expansion and realignment of the interchange. Lattice structures are being replaced with 50 single pole structures, many of which have already been swapped out. The transmission lines west of the interchange were completed and placed into service in May.

Crews were hard at work in late August installing conductor (wires) on the transmission structures on the southern portion of the project. Construction on the lines south of the Zoo Interchange will continue through this fall and winter and will be placed into service this winter.
On the Western Milwaukee County Electric Reliability Project, crews are using wooden construction mats to protect the ground and wetlands from damage by heavy machinery as they work to install transmission foundations and structures along the portion of the line that runs along Underwood Creek Parkway.
Duct instillation work for the underground portion of the line should be completed in September. Foundation work and pole setting for the overhead portion of the project will continue this fall, with wire stringing occurring in late fall. The project is on track to be placed into service in spring 2015.

 

 

 

 
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ATC receives approval to rebuild transmission line in Rock, Walworth counties http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-receives-approval-to-rebuild-transmission-line-in-rock-walworth-counties/ Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:12:42 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4601 Aging 69,000-volt line needs upgrading

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. on Tuesday gained approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to rebuild a 20-mile, 69,000-volt transmission line in Rock and Walworth counties. The Colley Road-Brick Church Rebuild Project will run from the Colley Road Substation in Beloit to the Brick Church Substation in Walworth. The project also involves construction of the new Tiger Substation near Clinton.

“Much of the line is more than 60 years old and needs improvements to ensure electric reliability in the area,” said Jon Callaway, ATC senior local relations representative.

The project will involve stringing new wires and replacing aging wood transmission poles with new steel poles. The new substation will be constructed on approximately 10 acres of land owned by ATC near Clinton.

Construction is planned to begin during the second half of 2015 to meet an in-service date of spring 2018. The estimated cost of the project is $38.5 million.

Note to editors: Additional information including a map is available at atc-projects.com and on the PSC’s website (psc.wi.gov) under docket number 137-CE-171.

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Osprey have a view from the top on ATC nest platforms http://www.atcllc.com/blog/osprey-have-a-view-from-the-top-on-atc-nest-platforms/ Thu, 07 Aug 2014 15:15:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/osprey-have-a-view-from-the-top-on-atc-nest-platforms/
ATC is committed to environmental leadership in all aspects of our business. One of the ways we demonstrate this commitment is through our avian stewardship.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, about 87 percent of Wisconsin’s breeding osprey population nest on platforms. There are more than 100 nesting platforms located on or adjacent to transmission lines in ATC’s service area, and these platforms support successful breeding of this once declining species.

These platforms protect the birds, enhance electric reliability and promote continued recovery of the species. Learn more about how we protect our feathered friends.

We recently spotted two osprey families nesting along our Clear Lake-Woodmin line in northern Wisconsin.

An osprey gets comfy on a nesting platform near our Woodmin Substation.

There are more than 100 nesting platforms located on or near ATC facilities


Madison, Wis., employees and their families also have taken office mascots, toy osprey couple Ozzie and Harriet, out and about “Flat Stanley” style over the years. 

Riding along for Bike to Work Week.
Enjoying the lake breeze on Cana Island, Door County, Wis.

Tagging along for Pesto Fest at Vermont Valley Community Farm.






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STIHL Tour des Trees, Day 7 – Aug. 2: Port Washington to Milwaukee http://www.atcllc.com/blog/stihl-tour-des-trees-day-7-aug-2-port-washington-to-milwaukee/ Mon, 04 Aug 2014 20:13:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/stihl-tour-des-trees-day-7-aug-2-port-washington-to-milwaukee/

“Hey, it’s Ben Gura again – and I am so happy to say I am writing the final day’s blog while sitting comfortably on my couch at home! I made it safe and sound with only a couple of mechanical issues on the bike. My legs are sore but in a good way – and the rest of my body is happy to be off the bike. 

The last ride day, Saturday, was bittersweet. Everyone was excited to be finished and to ride into the closing ceremony, but also disappointed that we would have to leave all of these new friends we made. The 40 miles went way too fast. I spent the first 20 miles with the fast guys just to see what it was like to put the hammer down and it felt great! The last 20 was a slow processional with a lot of chatter. It presented a great opportunity to say thank you to all of those I had ridden with throughout the week.

At the very last mile, the Team Wisconsin riders moved to the front of the pack to lead the way to Mount Mary College. This is where all of our friends and family had gathered and where the international tree climbing championships were being held. As we turned into the college entrance, the entire road was filled with people cheering and clapping for us. It was a really nice moment to see how happy everyone was to see us. Among those cheering was my family…now that made me smile!!
After hugs and kisses from the family and a quick round of pictures we had the final presentation. The TREE Fund thanked the sponsors and identified the 10 ten individual fund raisers. Team Wisconsin was the top fund raising team which was our goal! The Tour des Trees raised over $500,000 for The TREE Fund this year. I didn’t hit my goal but I am so happy at how close I came. I want to take an opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who donated to The TREE Fund! It really means a lot to me and your support really does help the trees.
A highlight from this year’s Tour was witnessing the dedication of over 23 trees, and a record number of educational events featuring Professor Elwood Pricklethorn. As riders, we tend to focus on the miles and occasionally we forget about the trees. But every tree that the Tour dedicates is a benefit to the community, environment and ecosystem. Every tree will provide oxygen to a cyclist, a shady spot to rest and a break from the wind. The trees are the reason we ride!  
My favorite part of the Tour was the educational events for the kids. Tour rider Warren Hoselton – aka “Professor Elwood Pricklethorn” does an outstanding job engaging the children and helping them understand the importance of trees. I heard that the Tour entertained over 300 kids during this year’s events. That’s 300 kids who now have an appreciation for “planting the right tree in the right place,” understanding what trees give to the community and hopefully having a desire to do more with trees as they get older. Who knows… maybe one or two of those kids will be foresters when they grow up!
The final tree dedication was at the Mount Mary College grounds, following the presentations. This tree dedication was particularly special because my family was there and my daughter, Morgan, and son, Jake, got to see how silly a group of adults could be. What a great way to end the week! Thank you again to ATC for sponsoring the lunch and educational event in New London. The Tour des Trees really matches our corporate values and I hope that ATC will become a long-term sponsor of this great event.
And thanks to all of you for letting me share my experiences with you during the past week. I’m now fairly certain: this Tour will not be my last…”
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STIHL Tour des Trees, Days 5 & 6 – July 31 & Aug. 1: Green Bay to Sturgeon Bay to Port Washington http://www.atcllc.com/blog/stihl-tour-des-trees-days-5-6-july-31-aug-1-green-bay-to-sturgeon-bay-to-port-washington/ Mon, 04 Aug 2014 01:02:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/stihl-tour-des-trees-days-5-6-july-31-aug-1-green-bay-to-sturgeon-bay-to-port-washington/

“Hey everyone – it’s Ben Gura checking in again from the STIHL Tour des Trees. We wrapped up this amazing ride on Saturday (which I’ll have another update on), but I wanted to catch you up from the days prior. Talk about a great pedaling – lovely weather and scenic riding. 
 
Day five was a blast. It was a short 57 miles from Green Bay to Sturgeon Bay. The day started with a once-in-a-lifetime tree dedication. The City of Green Bay and Bartlett Tree Company had acquired a very special tree. What made this tree so special? Well, it actually derived from the only surviving tree from ground zero. While cleaning up the rubble at the World Trade Center in New York after 9/11, the workers found a pear tree that was still alive. It was the only tree that survived the attack. Only a few trees have been grown from the cuttings of the tree and it is very special for a city to receive it. The dedication in Green Bay took place at a park near the Fox River and the library. The City had commissioned a beautiful memorial for the people from Wisconsin who died in the 9/11 attacks. It really was something to see and will be a great place to visit. 
The day’s riding was uneventful – a few nice rolling hills and a view of Green Bay. We had an early stop in Brussels and then a stop at the home of a Tour rider’s friend, for a nice ice cold beer. Lunch was served at a park right of Green Bay just north of Sturgeon Bay. We got into the hotel so early my room wasn’t ready. But I took advantage of the time by doing some laundry. We only get two jerseys so we need to wash them every couple of days. Some people wash their clothes in the sink while others wear them in the shower to wash them. I’m a fan of the guest washing machine that the hotels have. I also had time for a soak in the hot tub, a trip to McDonald’s for a cheeseburger and ice cream cone, and some more carb loading. We had a tasty outdoor dinner and enjoyed a polka band while we relaxed a bit. The evening’s activities capped off a wonderful day.
Of course, after a short day you have to make up some miles and day six did not disappoint us on that; it was a short 120 miles to Port Washington. I knew this was going to be a long day so I made sure to be up early and ready to roll. A taco truck feed us breakfast burritos, which was a welcome change from our standard breakfast before we rolled out at 7 a.m. The day started with some long climbs out of Door County but as we made it to Lake Michigan things leveled out. We had a slight headwind but I had a good group of riders that I worked with for the whole day. When you get a group of cyclists together that are willing to share the work of the ride, they can cover miles quickly. Our group ranged from 5 to 10 riders throughout the day. We would each take a turns “pulling” the other cyclists for a few miles then drop back into the pace line. 
Sorry for getting my cycling nerd out but there are a few terms that you learn when pack riding. A pace line is a group of cyclists riding in a line. They ride about 3 inches to 3 feet behind the rider in front of them – and obviously, the closer the better. “Taking a turn” or “pulling” is when you are the lead cyclist in the group. The lead rider splits the wind for everyone else. This helps the other riders rest while the lead is pulling. A good “pull” will set a pace that is comfortable for the group and they stick to it without speeding up or slowing down. In our case it was 17 mph. After the leader pulls, they move to the left and fall to the back of the pace line. When you are not in the front you work about 30% less than the lead rider. It’s the best way to get a lot of miles done quickly.
Our day ended around 3 p.m., with 8 hours in the saddle, just before a severe rainstorm with hail hit the hotel! At dinner we had presentations from The TREE Fund, and the rider awards were handed out. After dinner I had to stop for a slice of pizza. For some reason I have been hungry all week…could be the 500 plus miles on a bike?
All for now, and I’ll catch you up on the finale soon!”
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STIHL Tour des Trees, Day 4 – July 30: Stevens Point to Green Bay http://www.atcllc.com/blog/stihl-tour-des-trees-day-4-july-30-stevens-point-to-green-bay/ Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:50:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/stihl-tour-des-trees-day-4-july-30-stevens-point-to-green-bay/

“Hey – it’s Ben Gura again from the Tour des Trees. Days like today are the ones I love! The weather was perfect and the roads were scenic and rolling. We started our day early and managed to have gelato by 9 a.m. I had 47 miles to lunch and was excited to see all of my peers in New London from ATC. During those miles, I reflected on why I signed up for the Tour a second time.

 
Simply put – it’s the impact that the Tour has on the communities it touches. Each of these towns opens their arms to the Tour when we ride through. It seems that community members love seeing all of the riders decked out in their matching kits – plus they’re happy to feed and hydrate us! The message that the Tour sends about the value and importance trees on the environment and community is always heard by the residents who attend the tree dedications and the educational presentations.
When we made it to lunch all of my peers had the ATC Grow Smart tent set up and were assembling the giveaway bags that the kids got to bring home. They received books about trees, purple coneflower seed packets, a kid’s activity guide and other goodies too. Melinda Myers was there to greet the kids, talk about Grow Smart and answer any gardening questions that the guests had. We had some other special guest as well including the mayor of New London.
There were about 50 kids present who got to hear “Professor Elwood Prickethorn” give his tree presentation. It was great to see the kids getting involved and learning about trees and planting “the right tree in the right place.” After the presentation, the kids dedicated a tree in a very special Tour des Trees way.

The dedication starts with a clap of the hands above your head. Then we
rub our hands together to make energy. Next the energy is transferred to the trees roots by pointing our hands at the roots, wiggling our fingers and saying “the roots, the roots are on fire.” Then it ends in a loving rendition of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” but instead the lyrics go: ‘All we are saying…is give treesa chance.’ Some of the kids get embarrassed about doing this but most think it’s really fun. It was great to see my ATC friends and the kids that get to hear the ATC and Tour des Trees message.

The day ended 53 miles later with a tree dedication to a special kid who’s life was impacted by a car crash, followed by a lovely dinner at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Now, just three days of riding remain and my legs are getting stronger. We’re heading to Sturgeon Bay on Thursday, but cross your fingers for a strong north wind on Friday as we had 120 miles to ride down to Port Washington.”

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STIHL Tour des Trees, Day 3 – July 29: Ride recap / Wisconsin Dells to Stevens Point http://www.atcllc.com/blog/stihl-tour-des-trees-day-3-july-29-ride-recap-wisconsin-dells-to-stevens-point/ Wed, 30 Jul 2014 02:16:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/stihl-tour-des-trees-day-3-july-29-ride-recap-wisconsin-dells-to-stevens-point/
“Greetings again, from Ben Gura at the Tour des Trees! Three days are in the books and it has been an amazing journey so far. Day one started with lots of excitement and energy as 80-plus cyclists gathered at German Fest (Summerfest fair grounds) for the official kickoff. A tree was dedicated and the riders used their energy to help the tree get a good start in a very fun ceremony. The opening banner was cut by a STIHL chainsaw and we were on our way to Madison. We took over the streets of Milwaukee with all of the riders were clad in matching jerseys and helmets representing the Tour des Trees – overall, an impressive sight. As the ride passed Oconomowoc it was clear that this was going to be a difficult day. There was a constant 25 mph headwind with gusts into the upper thirties. I’m a decent cyclist but this proved to be very difficult. There were times where I would be climbing hills and the wind would almost bring my bike to a standstill. Then when I would need to rest on the downhill portions, I had to pedal instead of coasting. It was the most difficult day I’ve had on the bicycle.

Day two had no wind but plenty of hills. We headed west from Madison to Blue Mound State Park and up the hill to dedicate another tree. On the climb up I broke a spoke and my rim constantly rubbed on my brake making the climb even more challenging. The great support group fixed it and I was able to continue the day. We finished a very long 106 miles at 6:30 p.m. that evening. The total footage climbed was over 6,000 feet which doesn’t seem like much until you do it on a bike.
Day three was a great recovery day; a short 86 miles from Wisconsin Dells to Stevens Point. After two very difficult days and over 16 hours on a bicycle your whole body aches, especially your seat…Even though I knew today would be easier it was very difficult to wake up and put on my cycling shorts, jersey, helmet, gloves and cycling shoes. My gloves were still wet from yesterday’s sweat which made them even more pleasant to put on. Overall, day three went well. There was a minor accident in a group in front of me that left a couple riders off their bikes for the rest of the day; fatigue from the previous two days and close riding to one another are to blame. I finished the day’s ride a little after 3 p.m. and I feel great.
Another cyclist told me that their fitness tracker said they burned over 6,000 calories on day two, but this seemed low to me. On a normal training ride I burn close to 1,000 calories in an hour! The Tour does a great job keeping everyone feed and hydrated. Each day starts with a great breakfast that it is typically high on protein and carbohydrates. Once the day’s ride has started we have a rest stop before and after lunch where we can get snacks and water. These stops are short and typically include shoving as much salty food and bananas as you can get in your face before you’re off riding. Along the way, the riders also track down some of their own favorite stops. For me it has been for ice cream – twice on day two and once on day three. Lunch is catered in and again, it’s high in protein and carbs, lots of chicken, potatoes, rice, and fish. 
Dinners typically are the best meal of the day and I always have an appetite. On day one we had a pasta bar ready for us at the hotel as soon as we arrived. This is perfect for a cyclist to help their bodies recover. After the pasta bar we had our official dinner at the UW Arboretum. Most of the cyclists go back for seconds or thirds on dinner just to help recover the calories they are burning. I am averaging two to four chicken breasts per meal.
Four more days and about 290 miles left. Stay tuned…”
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STIHL Tour des Trees, Day 1 – July 27: Milwaukee to Madison http://www.atcllc.com/blog/stihl-tour-des-trees-day-1-july-27-milwaukee-to-madison/ Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:51:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/stihl-tour-des-trees-day-1-july-27-milwaukee-to-madison/ “Hi, I’m Ben Gura, vegetation management specialist at ATC. I’ve worked in utility vegetation management for over 15 years and have made a career of keeping trees out of utility rights-of-way to maintain safe and reliable electricity to help ‘keep the lights on.’ When I found out the STIHL Tour des Trees was returning to Milwaukee this summer I knew this would be a great opportunity for me to give something back to the trees.

The STIHL Tour des Trees is a week-long, 583-mile bicycle ride. The Tour is also America’s largest fundraiser for tree research, which benefits The TREE Fund. Since 1992, The TREE Fund has raised over $6.6 million dollars for tree research and educational programs. Some of the money raised also goes to grants that help sustain urban forests, which is part of my role at ATC. In Wisconsin, forests are under attack from a variety of pests including the Emerald Ash Borer. The TREE Fund provides grants that are helping protect Wisconsin ash trees and by identifying new varieties of ash trees that may be EAB resistant.

During the Tour, we will dedicate trees to communities, provide books about trees to local libraries, and present educational events to children about the importance and care of trees. The Tour spreads the word about how trees are an important part of the urban landscape and a necessary part of the ecosystem. The Tour benefits people, trees and the environment. Recognizing that these traits align with ATC’s Tree Line USA award and ATC’s environmental stewardship, ATC is sponsoring the 2014 STIHL Tour des Trees lunch stop in New London on July 30. This should be a great event that will include presentations from the Tour’s “Professor Elwood Pricklethorn” and nationally renowned horticulturist, author and radio/TV host, Melinda Myers.

Going all in on a seven-day 583-mile bike ride isn’t something that one takes lightly. Besides having to spend a lot of time on a bicycle training for the event, each rider is required to raise $3,500 for The TREE Fund. It’s a commitment that I’m happy to take on for the trees. Please help me reach my goal by donating below.

http://www.crowdrise.com/stdtteamwisconsin/fundraiser/bengura

The Tour’s first day from Milwaukee to Madison was tough because we had a 25 mph headwind and got caught in two downpours. Monday’s weather looks better though! Thanks for reading and be sure to check back in the coming days for more updates and photos as I pedal through Wisconsin – all for the benefit of trees.”

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ATC to sponsor STIHL Tour des Trees stop in New London http://www.atcllc.com/news/american-transmission-co-to-sponsor-stihl-tour-des-trees-stop-in-new-london/ Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:13:47 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4567 Event will feature Melinda Myers, tree dedication, awareness program and giveaways for children

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – On Wednesday, July 30, some 100 bicyclists will pedal into Hatten Park in New London, Wis., where American Transmission Co. and the New London Parks and Recreation department will host an event for kids and families. The bicyclists will be making a lunch stop on the fourth day of the nearly 600-mile STIHL Tour des Trees, which originates in Milwaukee and tours through Wisconsin to raise awareness and contributions to benefit the TREE Fund. Since 1992, the STIHL Tour des Trees has raised more than $6.6 million to fund research, education grants and scholarships administered by the TREE Fund.

At 11 a.m. in Hatton Park on July 30, Toronto arborist and veteran Tour cyclist Warren Hoselton, also known as “Professor Elwood Pricklethorn,” will present a kid-friendly short course in tree science. The Professor will be joined by renowned Wisconsin gardening expert, TV/radio host and author Melinda Myers, who will talk about the importance of trees and how to Grow Smart – by planting them a safe distance from high-voltage transmission lines. The 45-minute interactive program will focus on how trees grow, where and how to plant trees to increase their longevity and what kids can do to care for the trees in their world. The program is free, and the public is invited.

New London Public School fifth graders, assisted by Ranger Services Inc., planted a tree in Hatten Park on Arbor Day in anticipation of the Tour’s visit. On July 30, the Professor and Melinda Myers will lead the Tour cyclists and audience members in a special dedication of the new tree, and every child in attendance will take home books, seeds and other materials contributed by ATC, Bartlett Tree Experts, Wisconsin Arborist Association and the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources. The New London Public Library also will receive a set of books about trees and a donation from the TREE Fund, for inclusion in its children’s collection.

Note to editors: A video about the STIHL Tour des Trees can be found on YouTube by clicking here.

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Just imagine…riding 583 miles all for the benefit of trees http://www.atcllc.com/blog/just-imagineriding-583-miles-all-for-the-benefit-of-trees/ Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:27:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/just-imagineriding-583-miles-all-for-the-benefit-of-trees/ On Sunday, July 27, American Transmission Co. Vegetation Management Specialist Ben Gura will join nearly 100 other cyclists as they kick off the STIHL Tour des Trees. Since 1992, riders have generated nearly $7 million for The TREE Fund. This will be Gura’s second Tour.

“I’ve made a living removing and pruning trees, so when I see an opportunity to give something back to the trees I jump on it,” said Gura.

The STIHL Tour des Trees rolls out from Milwaukee and includes stops throughout central and southeast Wisconsin. ATC is sponsoring the Tour’s July 30 stop in New London. At 11 a.m. in Hatton Park, Toronto arborist and veteran Tour cyclist Warren Hoselton, also known as “Professor Elwood Pricklethorn,” will present a free kid-friendly short course in tree science. The professor will be joined by renowned Wisconsin gardening expert Melinda Myers, who will talk about the importance of trees and how to Grow Smart by planting them a safe distance from high-voltage transmission lines. The 45-minute program will focus on how trees grow, where and how to plant trees to increase their longevity and what kids can do to care for the trees. The TREE Fund mission aligns with ATC’s environmental policy ? benefitting people, trees and the environment.

ATC is a Tree Line USA utility with environmental designations from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality. Subscribe to our blog for event updates and photos in the days to come.

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ATC partners with Western Wisconsin American Red Cross to provide disaster relief http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-partners-with-western-wisconsin-american-red-cross-to-provide-disaster-relief/ Wed, 09 Jul 2014 21:41:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/atc-partners-with-western-wisconsin-american-red-cross-to-provide-disaster-relief/ Tornadoes, severe storms, floods and fires have impacted many people and communities in our service area. June was a particularly volatile month, with storms and tornadoes causing significant damage throughout western Wisconsin.

American Transmission Co. system operators monitor the grid and watch the weather very carefully. We also have a Transmission Emergency Response Plan that helps employees effectively prepare for and manage emergencies that impact the transmission system.

In addition to a plan for responding to electric transmission emergencies, ATC has committed significant support to the communities it serves as a Red Cross Disaster Partner. The Disaster Partners program provides funds to local Red Cross chapters, which enables them to immediately assist people impacted by disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, house fires or tornadoes. This support includes shelter, food, clothing, medications and health services.

According to the American Red Cross, every nine minutes emergencies that never make the news leave families without shelter, disconnected from loved ones and in need of lifesaving blood.

The Western Wisconsin Region American Red Cross has produced a handy checklist for disaster planning and emergency kits. Key highlights of the checklist include:

• Create and practice a family disaster plan.

• Assemble an emergency-preparedness kit.

• Have at least one household member trained in first aid and CPR/AED.

• Choose two places to meet if separated by an emergency: Right outside of your home in case of a sudden emergency and outside of your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.

Visit the Western Wisconsin Region American Red Cross website for more information on preparing for an emergency or disaster.

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ATC places new transmission line in service http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-places-new-transmission-line-in-service-2/ Tue, 08 Jul 2014 20:45:08 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4556 Chandler-Old Mead Road improves electric reliability in Escanaba area

DE PERE, Wis. – A new six-mile electric transmission line and a new substation have been placed in service in the Escanaba, Michigan, area.

The 138,000-volt transmission line runs from the Chandler Substation northwest of the city to the new Old Mead Road Substation located near the NewPage mill.

“The new line will help improve electric reliability,” said David Hovde, local relations consultant at American Transmission Co. “Previously, transmission facilities in the area were often overloaded; they also were so critical to maintaining service to customers that it was difficult to take an outage to perform maintenance on the system.”

Construction on the $25 million project began in summer 2013.

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This weekend: Tosa Garden Tour http://www.atcllc.com/blog/this-weekend-tosa-garden-tour/ Mon, 07 Jul 2014 19:17:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/this-weekend-tosa-garden-tour/ It seems hard to believe, but July is here and summer is finally upon us. For the gardeners and landscapers out there, the warm weather is a welcome relief from this slow growing season. Getting the appropriate grasses, flowers and plants to come up at the right time — much less thrive — has been a challenge, but there’s still hope!

Melinda Myers
If you’re still working on cultivating that perfect space in your yard and need some inspiration, check out what a few others have accomplished at the Tosa Garden Tour, this Saturday, July 12. If you have specific gardening or landscaping questions, renowned Wisconsin gardening expert, TV/radio host and author Melinda Myers will be on site to provide tips at the Kanavas Landscape Management booth from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

While you’re there, take home some purple coneflower seed packets, courtesy of American Transmission Co. Once these hearty perennials bloom, they’ll have no problem attracting birds and butterflies. The little gardener in your life will appreciate the “Growing Gardeners” activity booklet too, including information about the purple coneflowers, so make sure to pick up one of those as well.

Rain or shine, the garden tour is on. Sign up here and we’ll see you this weekend in Wauwatosa!

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ATC named one of the top workplaces in southeast Wisconsin http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-named-one-of-the-top-workplaces-in-southeast-wisconsin/ Mon, 09 Jun 2014 12:59:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/atc-named-one-of-the-top-workplaces-in-southeast-wisconsin/

It’s time to celebrate! On Sunday, June 8, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published the 2014 list of Top Workplaces in southeast Wisconsin, and we’re on it! The list recognizes area businesses and organizations whose employees find their jobs most rewarding and meaningful. 
The evaluation was based on employee responses to a survey about ATC’s values, execution, leadership, culture, job satisfaction and overall feelings about working at the company. ATC was nominated for consideration last fall, and 90 percent of ATC’s Pewaukee-based employees responded to the survey.
This is the fifth year the Journal has published the list. ATC has been nominated twice, and we’ve won twice – this year and in 2011.
As ATC aims to be the premier national energy delivery company, these opportunities help us evaluate what we are doing right, and how we can improve upon making employees’ experience at ATC a great one.
We are honored to have been selected for the award, particularly as the judges are our employees.
Click here to check out ATC’s company profile and herefor the full list of top southeast Wisconsin workplaces.
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ATC named one of the top workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-named-one-of-the-top-workplaces-in-southeastern-wisconsin/ Mon, 09 Jun 2014 12:54:19 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4474 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces list names 150 best area employers

PEWAUKEE, WIS. — American Transmission Co. has been selected as one of the 2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin.

The Top Workplaces are determined based on feedback from an employee survey, conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, an organizational health and employee engagement research firm. This is the fifth year the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has worked with Workplace Dynamics, LLP to develop and publish the list of top area workplaces, and this is the second time ATC has been nominated and named to the list.

Approximately 90 percent of ATC’s Milwaukee-area employees responded to the survey, which asked questions about ATC’s values, execution, leadership, culture, job satisfaction and overall feelings about working at the company. As ATC strives to become the premier national energy delivery company, surveys such as this help highlight how practices in place at ATC are experienced by employees.

“Every day, we strive to be a company where employees enjoy their work. The best way to gauge how we are doing is to ask our employees for feedback,” said ATC President and CEO John Procario. “It is very gratifying to be recognized as a top workplace, especially since the judges are our employees.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published the complete list over the weekend. Click here for the entire list and here for ATC’s company profile.

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ATC transmission line application determined to be complete http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-transmission-line-application-determined-to-be-complete/ Tue, 03 Jun 2014 15:04:58 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4466 New power lines proposed for northeastern Wisconsin

DE PERE, Wis. – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has deemed complete American Transmission Co.’s application to build new 345,000- and 138,000-volt transmission lines in northeastern Wisconsin. The North Appleton-Morgan transmission line project, part of ATC’s Bay Lake Project, includes facilities in Outagamie, Brown, Shawano, Oconto and Marinette counties. The project is needed to address reliability concerns, changes in generation and demand in the region, and the evolution of a wholesale electricity market.

“Without these reinforcements, areas of northeastern Wisconsin, including Green Bay and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, would be vulnerable to widespread outages,” said David Hovde, ATC local relations consultant.

The completeness determination begins an extensive regulatory review by the PSC, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture. The review will include public and technical hearings as well as an environmental impact statement.

Estimated cost of the project is $307 million to $327 million, depending on the route and substation alternatives. If approved, construction would begin in 2017 and the line would be placed in service in 2019.

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ATC to rebuild transmission line in western Kenosha County http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-to-rebuild-transmission-line-in-western-kenosha-county/ Tue, 27 May 2014 17:38:59 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4445 PEWAUKEE, WIS. – American Transmission Co. has received approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to reconstruct approximately 12.5 miles of 138,000-volt transmission lines in western Kenosha County. The Paris – Albers Rebuild Project will run from the Paris Substation, located in the towns of Paris and Somers, Wisconsin, to the Albers substation in the City of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“This project will help maintain reliability of the electric transmission system,” said Mary Carpenter, senior local relations representative. “The existing transmission line was originally built in 1947, and this rebuild will allow the system to meet current and future electricity loads.”

This project involves replacing the aging H-frame wooden poles with new H-frame wooden poles. The existing wires strung between the poles also will be replaced with larger wires to increase the line capacity. No new right-of-way is needed, and the new poles will be placed within a few feet of the existing poles. ATC will work with landowners to access the right-of-way through their property if necessary.

Construction is expected to begin in fall 2014, with completion in early 2015. The estimated cost of the project is $11.5 million. Landowners along the right-of-way have been informed of the project and will continue to be kept apprised as the project proceeds.

Additional details are available on the PSC’s website under Docket No. 137-CE-174. A map of the proposed project and additional information can be found at www.atc-projects.com.

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PSC announces dates for Badger Coulee scoping sessions http://www.atcllc.com/blog/psc-announces-dates-for-badger-coulee-scoping-sessions/ Fri, 16 May 2014 19:54:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/psc-announces-dates-for-badger-coulee-scoping-sessions/ The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin this week released the dates, times and locations of six scoping sessions to solicit input from the public to help determine the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement that must be prepared regarding the proposed Badger Coulee Transmission Project. The PSC also mailed notifications to potentially affected property owners.
American Transmission Co. and Xcel Energy jointly filed an application with the Public Service Commission to construct a 345,000-volt electric transmission line from north of La Crosse to northern Dane County, Wisconsin.
A flowchart of the PSC’s comprehensive regulatory review process is available here.

More than 90 percent of the approximately 182-mile northern route uses existing utility and Interstate or U.S. Highway corridors, and about 60 percent of the approximately 159-mile southern route uses shared corridors. Both route options have the same end points: Xcel Energy’s new Briggs Road Substation near Holmen and ATC’s North Madison Substation in the Town of Vienna, continuing to ATC’s Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton. If the project is approved, the PSC will select the final route. The estimated cost is $540 million to $580 million, depending on the route.
ATC and Xcel Energy anticipate receiving a decision on the project by April 2015.
Anyone interested in this project is invited to attend the PSC’s meetings. The sessions will run from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Dates and locations
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 — Waunakee Village Community Center, 333 S. Madison St., Waunakee
Monday, June 2, 2014 — Town of Holland Town Hall, W7937 County Road MH, Holland
Tuesday, June 3, 2014 — Cashton Community Hall, 811 Main St., Cashton
Thursday, June 5, 2014 — Kalahari Resorts, 1305 Kalahari Dr., Wisconsin Dells
Monday, June 9, 2014 — Comfort Inn and Suites, W10170 Holiday Dr., Black River Falls
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 — Best Western, 1017 East McCoy Blvd., Tomah
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ATC plans to rebuild aging transmission line in Rock, Walworth counties http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-plans-to-rebuild-aging-transmission-line-in-rock-walworth-counties/ Thu, 15 May 2014 17:24:51 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4424 Project will improve aging infrastructure, enhance area electric reliability

PEWAUKEE, WIS. – American Transmission Co. today filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to rebuild a 20-mile, 69,000-volt transmission line in Rock and Walworth counties. The proposed Colley Road-Brick Church Rebuild Project will run from the Colley Road Substation in Beloit, Wisconsin, to the Brick Church Substation in Walworth, Wisconsin. The project also involves construction of the new Tiger Substation near Clinton, Wisconsin.

The project will involve stringing new wires and replacing aging wood transmission poles with new steel poles. The current route will generally be maintained, though minor adjustments are planned to improve design efficiency.  Spans will be increased where possible to minimize the total number of structures. The new substation will be constructed on approximately 10 acres of land owned by ATC near Clinton.

“The project is needed to replace aging infrastructure, as much of the existing line is more than 60 years old,” said Jon Callaway, senior local relations representative for ATC. “It also will help ensure electric reliability in the area by relieving potential system constraints due to projected load growth.”

If the estimated $40 million project is approved, construction would begin in mid to late 2015 to meet an in-service date of 2018.

Additional details are available on the PSC website under Docket No. 137-CE-171. A map of the proposed project and additional information can be found at www.atc-projects.com.

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Lorenz promoted to VP of human resources, safety and facilities http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/lorenz-promoted-to-vp-of-human-resources-safety-and-facilities/ Tue, 13 May 2014 15:48:29 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4413 PEWAUKEE, WIS. – American Transmission Co. has promoted Lori Lorenz to vice president of human capital. In this role, Lorenz oversees human resources, safety and facilities.

Lori LorenzLorenz brings years of experience and a wealth of human resources knowledge to the position. She joined ATC in 2013 as director of human resources, and prior to that served as vice president, human resources at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. She also was managing director of human capital at Robert W. Baird & Co. While at Baird, the organization achieved Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” recognition for nine consecutive years.

Lorenz is an active member of several local and national human resources organizations, including Society for Human Resource Management, Milwaukee Area Compensation Association, FUEL Milwaukee’s Employer Council, MRA’s HR Executive Forum, Waukesha Tempo and Waukesha County Business Alliance. She also serves on the personnel committee of the Roger’s Memorial Hospital board of directors and is a board member of Carmen High School of Science & Technology in Milwaukee. Lorenz was recognized in 2008 as one of The Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” list of young business and community leaders in the Milwaukee metro area.

Lorenz holds a bachelor’s degree in human resources management from UW-Whitewater, and also holds certifications as Senior Professional in Human Resources, Global Professional in Human Resources and Certified Compensation Professional.

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Satterfield named EVP of business development, planning, policy, communications http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/satterfield-named-evp-of-business-development-planning-policy-communications/ Wed, 07 May 2014 17:54:02 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4394 Randy SatterfieldPEWAUKEE, WIS. – American Transmission Co. has named Randy Satterfield executive vice president of strategic planning and project development. In his new role at ATC, Satterfield oversees business development, strategic planning, regulatory policy and communications.

Satterfield joined ATC in 2003 as director of communications. In 2006, he became director of regulatory and governmental relations. He was named vice president of public affairs in 2008 and was promoted to executive vice president of public affairs and human resources in 2012, overseeing government relations, real estate, environmental, local relations, communications, customer relations, human resources and facilities.

Prior to joining ATC, Satterfield provided strategic communications, government affairs and political consulting services to a variety of corporations and organizations in Wisconsin. Before relocating to Wisconsin, Satterfield served as an assistant director in the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission. In his 13 years in Washington, D.C., he also provided strategic communications, international corporate relations and political consulting services to a variety of organizations and corporations.

Satterfield holds bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and political science from Marquette University.

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ATC files application for new 345- and 138-kV transmission lines http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-files-application-for-new-345-and-138-kv-transmission-lines/ Thu, 01 May 2014 16:53:16 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4379 North Appleton-Morgan line is part of Bay Lake Project

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has submitted a regulatory application to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, seeking permission to build new power lines and substation facilities in Outagamie, Brown, Shawano, Oconto and Marinette counties.

“The North Appleton-Morgan Project is needed to address reliability concerns, changes in generation and demand in the region, and the evolution of a wholesale electricity market,” said David Hovde, ATC local relations consultant. “Without these reinforcements, areas of northeastern Wisconsin, including Green Bay and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, would be vulnerable to widespread outages.”

As part of ATC’s Bay Lake Project announced in 2012, North Appleton-Morgan includes:

 A new 345-kV line and a new 138-kV line between the North Appleton Substation on French Road in the Town of Freedom in Outagamie County and the Morgan Substation in Oconto County (about 40 to 48 miles depending on route),

  • Expanded facilities at North Appleton and Morgan substations,
  • A new Benson Lake Substation at the site of the Amberg Substation in Marinette County to accommodate a large voltage-control device and
  • Additional work at 11 substations in northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

ATC met with landowners, local officials and other interested stakeholders for nearly two years to develop route alternatives for the new transmission lines. A number of different route section options are identified in the application that generally form an east or west alternative within three routing areas.

When proposing route options to the PSC, ATC will sometimes state a preference for an option that would balance landowner, environmental, construction and cost impacts.

ATC has expressed a preference for the east option in the south routing area, the west option in the central routing area and no preference in the north routing area.

  • ATC has stated a preference for the east option in the south routing area because the west option travels through densely developed residential areas and would impact more residences than the east option.
  • The west option in the central routing area has been designated as the preferred option because it shares more right-of-way with existing facilities.
  • No preference has been expressed for the north routing area; the west option provides more opportunity for shared right-of-way and fewer environmental impacts, but could impact more properties. The east option, while shorter and straighter, could have more environmental impacts.

“While we have expressed preferences in certain areas, it is important for all stakeholders to remain involved in the process because the Public Service Commission ultimately chooses the route if the project is approved,” Hovde explained.

Single-circuit, self-supporting steel monopole structures would be used in most locations. The typical height of the structures would be 85 feet on the 138-kV line and 120 feet on the 345-kV line.

Estimated cost of the project is $307 to $327 million, depending on the route and substation alternatives. If approved, construction would begin in 2017 and the line would be placed in service in 2019.

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NOTE TO EDITORS:  Maps, fact sheets and additional information is available at www.BayLakeProject.com

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PSC deems Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project application complete http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/psc-deems-badger-coulee-transmission-line-project-application-complete/ Wed, 30 Apr 2014 18:16:41 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4377 Extensive regulatory review process officially begins

MADISON, Wis. – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has determined complete the joint application of American Transmission Co. and Xcel Energy to build an approximately 160- to 180-mile, 345,000-volt transmission line from the La Crosse area to northern Dane County, Wisconsin. The next step is an extensive regulatory review by the PSC, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture, including public notification, scoping meetings, an Environmental Impact Statement, and public and technical hearings.

The project partners in October 2013 filed an application with the PSC. The PSC requires applicants to propose two route options for a new 345-kV transmission line. More than 90 percent of the approximately 182-mile northern route uses existing utility and Interstate or U.S. Highway corridors, and about 60 percent of the approximately 159-mile southern route uses shared corridors. Both route options have the same end points: Xcel Energy’s new Briggs Road Substation near Holmen and ATC’s North Madison Substation in the Town of Vienna, continuing to ATC’s Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton. If the project is approved, the PSC will select the final route. The estimated cost is $540 million to $580 million, depending on the route.

“We appreciate the public’s active involvement over the past several years in helping us evaluate possible routes,” said ATC Manager of Environmental and Local Relations Greg Levesque. “The PSC’s regulatory review phase allows further opportunity for stakeholders to submit comments directly to the PSC and be part of the process.”

The Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project has been designated a Multi-Value Project by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator because it will enable the delivery of energy in support of reliability, economic and public policy benefits. Studies indicate that a new transmission line will offset the need for about $160 million to $180 million in lower voltage transmission system upgrades in western Wisconsin, provide local utilities with increased access to the wholesale energy market and could provide $118 million to $700 million in net economic benefits to electric consumers over the life of the line. The new transmission line also would establish another pathway for renewable energy into Wisconsin with a connection to key load centers.

“Today’s decision is another step forward in a very comprehensive and inclusive regulatory process,” said Xcel Energy Project Manager Dave Rockwell. “We strongly encourage all interested stakeholders to stay involved as the review process may take up to 12 months.”

If the project is approved, construction of the new transmission line would begin in 2016 to meet an in-service date of 2018.

Note to editors:
A map of the final route options and additional project information are available at www.BadgerCoulee.com.

ATC and Xcel Energy’s application with the PSC can be found by visiting www.psc.wi.gov and entering Docket No. 5-CE-142 (current docket number) or 137-CE-160 (previous docket number).

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About ATC
ATC is a Wisconsin-based utility that owns, operates, builds and maintains the high-voltage electric transmission system serving portions of the Upper Midwest. Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, ATC has invested $3.2 billion to improve the adequacy and reliability of its infrastructure. ATC now is a $3.6 billion company with 9,480 miles of transmission lines and 529 substations. The company is a member of the MISO regional transmission organization, and provides nondiscriminatory service to all customers, supporting effective competition in energy markets without favoring any market participant. For more information, visit www.atcllc.com. 

About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company, with retail operations in eight Western and Midwestern states, including Wisconsin. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis, and Wisconsin-Michigan operating company headquarters are located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. For more information about Xcel Energy visit www.xcelenergy.com.

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Helicopter, air saw to be used for tree trimming along transmission lines in Columbia, Dane and Rock counties http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/helicopter-air-saw-to-be-used-for-tree-trimming-along-transmission-lines-in-columbia-dane-and-rock-counties/ Wed, 12 Mar 2014 16:11:51 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4272 Aerial work scheduled to start mid-March

MADISON, Wis. – A helicopter and heavy-duty air saw are scheduled to be used beginning this week to trim trees along two transmission lines in Columbia, Dane and Rock counties.

American Transmission Co. has contracted with Aerial Solutions, Inc., a company that specializes in aerial tree management along transmission line corridors. The helicopters are equipped with heavy-duty air saws with rotary blades suspended on a 90-foot vertical boom. In some areas, ground crews will be performing additional vegetation removal work this year.

“The helicopter and air saw will be used to side trim trees at the edge of the right-of-way,” said Adam Helminiak, ATC senior vegetation management specialist. “This work will help us ensure the safe and reliable operation of the electric transmission system.”

Tree trimming will occur along portions of a 345,000-volt line that runs from the Columbia Substation near Portage, Wis., to the Rockdale Substation in the Town of Christiana, Wis. Trimming also will be done on portions of a 345-kV line that runs from the Rockdale Substation to the Paddock Substation near Beloit, Wis. Because the work is weather-dependent, flight schedules will vary and may extend into late March.

Managing the growth of trees and other vegetation is key to helping ensure public safety and electric system reliability. ATC performs routine vegetation management on its 9,480 miles of transmission lines in five-year cycles.

Note to editors: A video of similar aerial vegetation management work is available on our YouTube channel.

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ATC employees power through American Birkebeiner race http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-employees-power-through-american-birkebeiner-race/ Tue, 04 Mar 2014 21:55:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/atc-employees-power-through-american-birkebeiner-race/

Each year, more than 13,000 skiers descend upon Cable, Wis., to participate in the storied American Birkebeiner, or Birkie. The 50-kilometer cross-country ski event began in 1973, but the tradition goes back to Norway and the 1200s. Birkebeiners were charged with carrying the young  son of King Sverresson and Inga of Vartieg to safety. They donned birch bark leggings and traversed the mountains and forests of the Osterdalen valley in Norway during the Norwegian Civil War. The child transported to safety by the Birkebeiners was King Haakon Haakonsson IV. Thousands of skiers commemorate this event across the globe each year. Norwegian skiers often will carry a pack that symbolizes the weight of an 18-month-old child. 

Hagman at the end of the race.
Three American Transmission Co. employees joined in the tradition this year and powered through bitter cold to finish the race.
Transmission Planning Engineer Chris Hagman had a warm-up race in sub-zero temperatures weeks prior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, so when the mercury rose above freezing, it was a pleasant surprise for this tough racer.
“Of my seven Birkies, this was definitely the hardest and the slowest,” Hagman said. His girlfriend, Marianne, helped make the race a little more entertaining by organizing a group to provide comic relief and encouragement at a very steep hill just before the end of the race.
Construction Coordinator Paul Roltgen also agreed about the difficulty this year, calling his sixth Birkie the hardest one to date.
“Thursday night prior to the event, the Hayward area had 16-plus inches of snow. The new snow combined with the cold and the strong west wind certainly made it a challenge,” Roltgen said. “To put it into context, I finished 45 minutes slower than my fastest time. I still loved being in the winter wonderland surrounded by woods and upbeat competitors, many who keep coming back year after year.”
And what might a Professional Engineer who works at an electric utility call out as one of the highlights of the race?
“At a certain point after about 9 kilometers, racers travel below a 138-kilovolt circuit. There are hundreds of skate skiers on one side of the right-of-way going up and down the rolling hills right below the lines, while the classic skiers are on the other side doing the same,” said Project Manager Andy Ehlert.
Another highlight for Ehlert is an elaborate drumming display that takes place at the top of a hill.
“At one point at the top of a hill climb we pass by about 50 people from the local Lac Courte Oreilles tribe as they bang loudly on huge drums,” said Ehlert. “The skiers march up the steep hill in rhythm and it is awesome! It gives me goose bumps each time I pass by and really brings home the spirit of the race in that region of Wisconsin.”  

Roltgen warms up by getting into Viking garb and participating in a ‘Giant Ski Race,’ where teams strap themselves onto a set of giant skis and race down main street in Hayward, Wis.








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ATC announces second round of public open houses for Spring Valley-North Lake Geneva project http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-announces-second-round-of-public-open-houses-for-spring-valley-north-lake-geneva-project/ Wed, 26 Feb 2014 22:30:30 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4256 New transmission line and substation proposed to improve electric reliability

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. is holding a second round of public open houses for the proposed Spring Valley-North Lake Geneva Electric Reliability Project. Informational open houses will be held in mid-March for residents and other stakeholders to review the routes and substation site options for the proposed 25-mile, 138-kilovolt transmission line from southern Walworth County to western Kenosha County, Wis.

“We’ve been working with Alliant Energy and We Energies for several years to identify a suitable long-term electric solution for this growing area,” said Mary Carpenter, local relations representative. “The communities and residents have been helpful in developing the project and the proposed routes.”

The electric transmission system in the area is vulnerable to low voltages and power outages and can no longer adequately support the lower-voltage distribution system. ATC studies indicate that the project would strengthen the electric transmission system to meet the growing use of electricity. This estimated $80 million to $95 million project would provide system redundancy and allow for maintenance outages when repairs are needed.

The public is invited to attend either of the following open houses any time between3 and 7 p.m.:

Tuesday, March 11, Marino’s Country Aire Banquet Hall, 34816 Geneva Rd., Burlington

Wednesday, March 12, Hawks View Golf Club, 7377 Krueger Rd., Lake Geneva

Following these open houses, ATC will evaluate public comments on the proposed route options to determine if modifications are needed. A final round of open houses will be held in early 2015 to present the route options that will be included in ATC’s application to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for permission to build the line and substation. If approved, the PSC will select the route to be built. Construction would begin in 2017 to meet an in-service date of 2019.

Note to editors: A map showing the proposed route options along with additional information about the project is available at www.atc-projects.com.

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Helicopter, air saw to be used for tree trimming in Manitowoc, Brown, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac counties http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/helicopter-air-saw-to-be-used-for-tree-trimming-in-manitowoc-brown-sheboygan-fond-du-lac-counties/ Fri, 21 Feb 2014 16:11:30 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4247 Aerial work scheduled to begin late February or early March 

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – A helicopter and heavy-duty air saw will be used beginning the last week of February or early March to trim trees along transmission lines in eastern Wisconsin.

American Transmission Co. has contracted with Aerial Solutions, Inc., a company that specializes in aerial tree management along transmission line corridors. The helicopters are equipped with heavy-duty air saws with rotary blades suspended on a 90-foot vertical boom. In some areas, ground crews will be performing additional vegetation removal work this year.

“We’ll be using the helicopter and air saw to side trim trees at the edge of the right-of-way,” said Ben Gura, ATC senior vegetation management specialist. “This work will help us ensure the safe and reliable operation of the electric system.” 

Tree trimming will occur along a 345,000-volt line that runs from the Point Beach Nuclear Plant in northeastern Manitowoc County, Wis., west across southern Brown County to west of Wrightstown, Wis. Trees also will be trimmed along a 345-kV line that extends from Sheboygan, Wis., southwest of Fond du Lac, Wis. Because the work is weather-dependent, flight schedules will vary and may extend later into March.

Managing the growth of trees and other vegetation is crucial to helping ensure public safety and electric system reliability. ATC performs routine vegetation management on its 9,480 miles of transmission lines in five-year cycles.

Note to editors: A video of similar aerial vegetation management work is available on our YouTube channel.

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American Transmission Co. opposes legislation that would reduce coordinated regulatory reviews and permitting for utility projects http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-opposes-legislation-that-would-reduce-coordinated-regulatory-reviews-and-permitting-for-utility-projects/ Wed, 19 Feb 2014 15:44:49 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4245 Proposed legislation could increase costs, eliminate coordinated environmental oversight

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. opposes Assembly Bill 774, which would impair the efficient coordination that currently exists between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission for reviewing and permitting utility projects.

Over the last decade, ATC has successfully permitted nearly $3 billion in transmission reliability improvements under the current process, which provides for a streamlined and thorough examination of environmental impacts and protections. This legislation would undo the successful coordination that occurs among the DNR, the PSC, applicants and the public brought about through 2003 Act 89. In addition, it would negate the improvements to laws governing development and siting of transmission lines that were enacted in 2013 through Act 10.

The bill is being justified on the grounds that it will eliminate bureaucracy and reduce costs. In fact, the bill could increase the costs by eliminating the coordination among agencies, creating opportunities for duplicate or unnecessary work, and introducing the potential for more disputes.

 

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ATC plans to rebuild aging transmission line in Kenosha County http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-plans-to-rebuild-aging-transmission-line-in-kenosha-county/ Tue, 18 Feb 2014 19:29:52 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4243 Project will enhance electric reliability for southeastern Wisconsin

Pewaukee, Wis. – American Transmission Co. today filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to rebuild a 12.5 mile, 138,000-volt transmission line in western Kenosha County. The proposed Paris-Albers Rebuild Project will run from the Paris Substation in Paris, Wis., to the Albers substation in Kenosha, Wis.

The project will involve stringing new wires and replacing aging wood transmission poles with new wood and steel poles. No new right-of-way is needed and the new poles will be placed within a few feet of the existing poles.

“The project is estimated to cost $12.2 million and is needed to help ensure safe and reliable transmission operations in the future and adequate clearances to the ground,” said Mary Carpenter, senior local relations representative for ATC.

If the project is approved, construction will begin in late 2014 to meet an in-service date of early 2015.

Additional details will be available on the PSC’s website under Docket No. 137-CE-174. A map of the proposed project and additional information can be found at www.atc-projects.com.

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Calling all interns! http://www.atcllc.com/blog/calling-all-interns/ Tue, 18 Feb 2014 14:50:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/calling-all-interns/



Intern Elliot Nelson shows his team spirit with ATC
substation engineer and former intern Justin Nettesheim
during ATC’s 2014 Office Olympics at ATC’s
Madison office, Friday, Feb. 7.



Although it’s hard to imagine after the recent polar vortex, summer is just around the corner. For college students everywhere (and their parents) the impending change in season brings to mind one particular question: What am I going to do over summer break? 
How about a paid internship at American Transmission Co.? ATC has 33 internship positions to fill for summer 2014 in our Madison, Cottage Grove, Pewaukee and De Pere, Wis., offices. Many of the internships are for civil or electrical engineering students and others are in human resources, information technology and corporate security. 
ATC interns don’t make coffee. They do anything that full-time employees do. (So technically yes, that includes making coffee if they emptied the pot.) But in all seriousness, ATC interns do real work, and work right alongside professionals in their field. Interns learn invaluable career skills, processes technologies and programs—skills that give them a leg up both in their college coursework and when it’s time to find a job after graduation. 
Interested? We’re accepting applications now, so check out our open internship positions and apply today!

The basics

  • Length: May – August, with a possibility to extend into the fall or winter
  • Hours: 40 hours per week during the summer, 15-20 hours per week during the school year
  • College credit: Some schools give credit for internships
  • When to apply: NOW!
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ATC Tree Planting Program grant helps add fruit trees to DeForest http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-tree-planting-program-grant-helps-add-fruit-trees-to-deforest/ Thu, 30 Jan 2014 20:10:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/atc-tree-planting-program-grant-helps-add-fruit-trees-to-deforest/

We’re happy to read that the Village of DeForest, Wis., plans to help add to Dane County’s burgeoning edible landscape with apple and pear trees at Liberty Land Park.

In honor of the home of the Norskies, here are a few Nordic-inspired apple and pear desserts:

Stetke epler (fried apples)

Pear coffee cake
The Capital Times also reports that remaining grant money will be used to offer shade for the Fidos and Spots of the world at a local dog park.

Read more about our Tree Planting Program and how it’s helping local communities become more beautiful and sustainable.

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An Idol connection: ATC employees’ son takes a step toward the big time http://www.atcllc.com/blog/an-idol-connection-atc-employees-son-takes-a-step-toward-the-big-time/ Tue, 28 Jan 2014 16:22:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/an-idol-connection-atc-employees-son-takes-a-step-toward-the-big-time/ 

Joe Janowicz headshot

There’s a bit of a buzz going around American Transmission Co.’s De Pere, Wis., office that has nothing to do with the electric grid. ATC employees, Joe and Maria Janowicz, are the proud parents of talented singer/actor Jack Janowicz, who may just make it to the big stage at Hollywood Week on American Idol.

“It’s been a wild ride,” said Joe. “We were driving in the car one day when Jack said, ‘hey, I got an email from Idol. I made the cut!’” The family hadn’t known that Jack sent a video audition, let alone that it was good enough to avoid the cattle call and proceed to audition directly in front of the show’s executive producers in Omaha, Neb. After getting through two rounds with the producers, it was on to the celebrity judges.

Joe says Jack has displayed an unexpected talent for the arts all his life.

“We have videos of him dancing in-beat to music on the radio while wearing his diaper. He’s been singing as long as he could talk,” said Joe. “I’m not sure where he got it from, but we do know he is our kid. My dad likes to joke he had talent as a kid.”

Maria says it’s an experience he’ll never forget, topped off with high praise from star and Idol judge Jennifer Lopez. “When JLo met Jack, she told him some people don’t look the way they sound, but that Jack sounds exactly the way he looks. She said, ‘You have the whole package and I like it,’ while making a little box with her fingers. I told Jack if he ever has a bad day, JLo’s feedback should bring a smile to his face!”

While he can’t reveal his status on the show, fans online are buzzing with rave reviews of Jack’s singing and charisma, showcased on his YouTube channel. The Omaha auditions are scheduled to air Thursday, Jan. 30, from 7 to 8 p.m. We’ll be rooting for a powerful performance from Jack.

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ATC files application for Dyckesville-Sawyer project http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-files-application-for-dyckesville-sawyer-project/ Fri, 24 Jan 2014 15:34:11 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4214 Aging transmission line in Brown, Kewaunee and Door counties needs to be rebuilt

DE PERE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has filed a regulatory application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to rebuild a 69,000-volt transmission line between Dyckesville, Wis. and Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

“The line was built in the 1930s and needs to be improved for assured electric reliability in the area,” said David Hovde, ATC local relations representative. “H-frame structures along the 25-mile line will be replaced with single-pole structures in the same locations.”

If approved, construction would begin in September 2015 and the line should be placed in service in summer 2016. Cost of the project is estimated to be about $23 million.

To view a copy of the application, visit the PSC’s website, http://psc.wi.gov/, and enter docket number 137-CE-172.

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Michigan PSC approves Holmes-Old Mead Road project http://www.atcllc.com/blog/michigan-psc-approves-holmes-old-mead-road-project/ Thu, 23 Jan 2014 22:15:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/michigan-psc-approves-holmes-old-mead-road-project/ The Michigan Public Service Commission today granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a 138-kilovolt transmission line from the Holmes Substation in Menominee County to the Old Mead Substation in Delta County. This is ATC’s first CPCN application and approval in Michigan.

In issuing its order, the MPSC selected ATC’s proposed route. The 58-mile line will make maximum use of co-location opportunities, placing the new facilities on existing transmission line or other rights-of-way. The western half will share a corridor with an existing transmission line; the eastern half will share an abandoned railroad corridor currently owned by the Michigan Department of Transportation and managed by the Department of Natural Resources. In exchange for sharing the corridor, ATC proposes to develop a 10-foot-wide multi-purpose recreational trail.

“The new transmission line is intended to improve electric reliability significantly in the Upper Peninsula,” said MPSC Chairman John D. Quackenbush. “The settlement agreement approved today enabled the MPSC to decide this case nine months in advance of the one-year statutory deadline, enhancing ATC’s ability to bring needed improvements to the Upper Peninsula.”

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ATC names Bill Marsan as general counsel http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-names-bill-marsan-as-general-counsel/ Tue, 07 Jan 2014 21:09:14 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4206 PEWAUKEE, Wis. – William P. Marsan has been named executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of American Transmission Co. effective Jan. 22, 2014. He will have responsibility for legal and state regulatory staffs at ATC.

Marsan has been with Indianapolis Power & Light Company since 2005, where he served as general counsel and corporate secretary, and led the federal regulatory, environmental, government affairs, security and project development teams. Prior to joining IPL, Marsan was a partner in the energy and public law practice at Troutman Sanders LLP in Washington, DC. He also has served as counsel and legislative director on Capitol Hill and as a litigator with Campbell & Associates in Boston.  

Marsan began his legal career in the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, where he served as trial counsel in more than 200 courts-martial. While on active duty, Marsan was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal and Navy Commendation. He was honorably discharged from the Naval Reserve as a lieutenant commander in 2001.

Marsan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College and Juris Doctor from George Washington University. He also completed the Leadership Development Program at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

“We are pleased to welcome Bill to ATC and to our executive leadership team,” said ATC President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Procario. “We welcome his strong leadership, and legal and regulatory experience.”

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ATC awards $74,500 for community plantings http://www.atcllc.com/blog/atc-awards-74500-for-community-plantings/ Fri, 20 Dec 2013 21:58:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/atc-awards-74500-for-community-plantings/

American Transmission Co. in 2013 launched a planting program to support tree and vegetation planting in communities in its service area. During the first year of the program 59 eligible municipalities and counties received financial support for planting projects on public property within their communities in the form of grants ranging from $250 to $5,000.

To qualify, 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. Priority favored projects that promote safety and reliability of the transmission system by supporting right-of-way best management practices and keeping trees out of the right-of-way.

Tree Planting Program funding recipients are noted in the ATC news release. ATC will accept applications for its 2014 Tree Planting Program June 1 through Sept. 30, 2014, and recipients will be selected by the end of 2014.

Additional information, including a program brochure and eligibility information, is available on the ATC website.

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American Transmission Co. awards $74,500 to sponsor community plantings http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-awards-74500-to-sponsor-community-plantings/ Thu, 19 Dec 2013 17:04:57 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4150 Program supports efforts to beautify communities

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. this year launched a planting program to support tree and vegetation planting in communities in its service area. During the first year of the program 59 eligible municipalities and counties received financial support for planting projects on public property within their communities in the form of grants ranging from $250 to $5,000.

“As an owner and operator of the area electric transmission system, it is our responsibility to keep trees and brush out of the rights-of-way of our power lines for safety and reliability reasons,” said ATC Environmental and Local Relations Manager Greg Levesque. “This program allows us to improve electric reliability by educating communities about plantings that are consistent with our safety and maintenance standards while also supporting efforts to beautify communities.”

To qualify, 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. Priority favored projects that promote safety and reliability of the transmission system by supporting right-of-way best management practices and keeping trees out of the right-of-way.

2013 Tree Planting Program funding recipients:

Antigo, Wis.
Appleton, Wis.
Baraboo, Wis.
Bayside, Wis.
Brooklyn, Wis.
Bruce, Wis.
Cambridge, Wis.
Combined Locks, Wis.
De Forest, Wis.
Delafield, Wis.
Dunn, Wis.
Fitchburg, Wis.
Fond du Lac, Wis.
Franklin, Wis.
Fredonia, Wis.
Germantown, Wis.
Gilman, Wis.
Grafton, Wis.
Grand Chute, Wis.
Greenfield, Wis.
Greenville, Wis.
Hillsboro, Wis.
Hortonville, Wis.
Hull, Wis.
Kronenwetter, Wis.
Mauston, Wis.
McFarland, Wis.
Menasha, Wis.
Merrimac, Wis.
Necedah, Wis. 
Neenah, Wis.
Oak Creek, Wis.
Oliver, Wis.
Omro, Wis.
Owen, Wis.
Ozaukee County, Wis.
Peshtigo, Wis.
Pittsville, Wis.
Port Edwards, Wis.
Prairie Du Chien, Wis.
Prairie du Sac, Wis.
Rhinelander, Wis.
Richland Center, Wis.
Sheboygan, Wis.
Spencer, Wis.
Stevens Point, Wis.
Stoddard, Wis.
Superior, Wis.
Tomah, Wis.
Tomahawk, Wis.
Waterford, Wis.
Waukesha, Wis.
Waunakee, Wis.
Waupaca, Wis.
Wausau, Wis.
Wilson, Wis.
Winnebago County, Wis.
Winneconne, Wis.
Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

ATC will accept applications for its 2014 Tree Planting Program June 1 through Sept. 30, 2014, and recipients will be selected by the end of 2014. Additional information, including a program brochure and eligibility information, is available on the ATC website: http://www.atcllc.com/learning-center/trees-and-vegetation/grow-smart-and-safely-in-your-community/.

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Pleasant Prairie-Zion Energy Center transmission line placed in service http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/pleasant-prairie-zion-energy-center-transmission-line-placed-in-service/ Mon, 09 Dec 2013 18:14:51 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4144 Multi-Value Project delivers economic benefits, establishes another important high-voltage interstate connection

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. Friday energized a newly constructed 345-kilovolt electric transmission line that establishes another important high-voltage interstate connection between Wisconsin and Illinois. The approximately 5-mile line runs from the Pleasant Prairie Substation in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., to the Zion Energy Center Substation in Zion, Ill. The new line will improve operation of the electric system in southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois.

“The new power line relieves congestion on the existing interstate transmission system, and will provide savings to electric utilities and their customers by creating a reliable pathway to move electricity from the most efficient generators to energy markets,” said ATC Major Projects Planning Manager Tom Dagenais.  

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator designated the project as one of 17 Multi-Value Projects across the Midwest that deliver significant economic benefits. This is the first of three ATC projects designated by MISO as Multi-Value Projects to be placed into service. MISO recognized the economic benefits of large capacity regional transmission lines when it introduced a portfolio of 17 projects whose costs would be shared among utilities and their customers across the entire MISO service territory. MISO estimates that the average utility customer in the region will see $23 in annual benefits from lowered delivered energy costs for about $11 a year in investment.

ATC received approval in April 2012 from the Illinois Commerce Commission and May 2012 from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to build the transmission line, and construction on the project began late last year.

Note to editors: A map and additional project information is available at www.atc-projects.com. Information about MISO Multi-Value Projects is available at https://www.misoenergy.org/Planning/Pages/MVPAnalysis.aspx

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A bird’s eye view of our Avian Protection Program http://www.atcllc.com/blog/a-birds-eye-view-of-our-avian-protection-program/ Tue, 26 Nov 2013 22:26:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/a-birds-eye-view-of-our-avian-protection-program/

Balancing our responsibility to improve electric system reliability with our environmental responsibilities in planning and construction is critical, and we have developed practices that provide guidance for construction work: avoidance, protection and restoration.

Read more about our Avian Protection Program.

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Crews use helicopters during Pleasant Prairie-Zion Project construction http://www.atcllc.com/blog/crews-use-helicopters-during-pleasant-prairie-zion-project-construction/ Tue, 19 Nov 2013 20:16:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/crews-use-helicopters-during-pleasant-prairie-zion-project-construction/

Helicopters can be a real time and cost saver in transmission line construction projects. In this video, a helicopter is being used to string ropes between structures on our Pleasant Prairie-Zion Transmission Line Project near Pleasant Prairie, Wis. The ropes are then used to pull the wires between the poles.

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Underground construction begins for Western Milwaukee County Project http://www.atcllc.com/blog/underground-construction-begins-for-western-milwaukee-county-project/ Tue, 19 Nov 2013 03:55:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/underground-construction-begins-for-western-milwaukee-county-project/ Western Milwaukee County underground construction

Construction is underway on the underground portion of our Western Milwaukee County Electric Reliability Project. The project involves construction of two sets of 138-kilovolt lines, each two miles long, to connect a new We Energies substation to the transmission grid. The two separate lines are needed to assure redundancy to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, which operates two Level 1 trauma centers. Although construction was not scheduled to start until next year, we took advantage of the opportunity to begin the underground portion ─about 1,250 feet─to coincide with underground road work being performed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

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Special foundations used for Wisconsin River island construction http://www.atcllc.com/blog/special-foundations-used-for-wisconsin-river-island-construction/ Mon, 18 Nov 2013 22:05:00 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/uncategorized/special-foundations-used-for-wisconsin-river-island-construction/

We are using micropile technology to replace an aging transmission structure on an island in the Wisconsin River in Stevens Point, Wis.

A micropile is a high-performance drilled and grouted foundation that can be installed in environmentally sensitive locations using lightweight specialty equipment. In this case, the micropile will eliminate the need for bringing concrete trucks on to the island.

Seawalls have been installed along the shore in Bukolt Park in Stevens Point to accommodate a barge that will be used to ferry crews and equipment to the island when the work is performed this winter.

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ATC and Xcel Energy file state regulatory application to build Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-and-xcel-energy-file-state-regulatory-application-to-build-badger-coulee-transmission-line-project/ Tue, 22 Oct 2013 17:44:22 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4078 Line would extend from north of La Crosse area to northern Dane County

MADISON, Wis. – Following years of analysis and community involvement, American Transmission Co. and Xcel Energy today filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin seeking approval to build an approximately 160- to 180-mile, 345-kilovolt transmission line from the La Crosse area to northern Dane County.

The Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project has been designated a Multi-Value Project by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator because it will enable the delivery of energy in support of reliability, economic and public policy benefits. Studies indicate that the project will offset the need for about $160 million in lower voltage upgrades in western Wisconsin, provide increased access to the wholesale energy market and could provide $259 million to $841 million in net economic benefits over the life of the project. The project also would establish another pathway for renewable energy into Wisconsin with a connection to key load centers. 

The PSC requires ATC and Xcel Energy to propose two route options for the transmission line. More than 90 percent of the approximately 182-mile northern route uses existing utility and Interstate or U.S. Highway corridors, and about 60 percent of the approximately 159-mile southern route uses shared corridors. Both route options have the same end points: Xcel Energy’s new Briggs Road Substation near Holmen and ATC’s North Madison Substation in the Town of Vienna, continuing to ATC’s Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton. If the project is approved, the PSC will select the final route. The estimated cost is $514 million to $552 million, depending on the route.

“We appreciate the public’s active involvement over the past several years in helping us evaluate possible routes,” said ATC Environmental and Local Relations Manager Greg Levesque.  “We’ve looked at hundreds of paths for these lines and made adjustments based on what we learned from area landowners, businesses, community organizations and local officials.”

“The regulatory review process should take 12 to 18 months,” said Xcel Energy Project Manager David Rockwell. “During that time, the PSC will provide opportunities for the public and other stakeholders to get involved.”

If the project is approved, construction of the project would begin in 2016 to meet an in-service date of 2018.

Note to editors: A map of the final route options and additional project information are available at www.BadgerCoulee.com

ATC and Xcel Energy’s application with the PSC can be found by visiting www.psc.wi.gov and entering Docket No. 5-CE-142 (current docket number) or 137-CE-160 (previous docket number).

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About ATC
ATC is a Wisconsin-based utility that owns, operates, builds and maintains the high-voltage electric transmission system serving portions of the Upper Midwest. Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, ATC has invested $2.8 billion to improve the adequacy and reliability of its infrastructure. ATC now is a $3.3 billion company with 9,480 miles of transmission lines and 529 substations. The company is a member of the MISO regional transmission organization, and provides nondiscriminatory service to all customers, supporting effective competition in energy markets without favoring any market participant. For more information, visit www.atcllc.com.

About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company, with retail operations in eight Western and Midwestern states, including Wisconsin. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis, and Wisconsin-Michigan operating company headquarters are located in Eau Claire, Wis. For more information about Xcel Energy visit www.xcelenergy.com.

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ATC files application with Michigan Public Service Commission http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-files-application-with-michigan-public-service-commission/ Mon, 14 Oct 2013 18:18:43 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4066 Company seeks approval for 138-kV line in Menominee and Delta counties

DE PERE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. is asking Michigan regulators to approve a new 138-kV transmission line to improve reliability. 

The 60-mile line between the Holmes Substation in Menominee County and the Old Mead Road Substation near the NewPage mill in Escanaba is needed because of unique conditions of the electricity supply system in the area. “The transmission system is only marginally balanced,” said Brett French, ATC external relations manager. “Changes in demand or generation can significantly impact the reliability of the transmission system, creating difficulties when performing maintenance or managing unplanned outages. The project will greatly improve reliability of service to customers in the area.” 

ATC has developed a proposed and alternate route for the new line. The proposed route makes maximum use of co-location opportunities, placing the new facilities on existing transmission line or other rights-of-way. The western half of the proposed route would share a corridor with an existing transmission line; the eastern half would share an abandoned railroad corridor currently owned by the Michigan Department of Transportation and managed by the Department of Natural Resources. In exchange for sharing the corridor, ATC proposes to develop a 10-foot-wide multi-purpose recreational trail between Hermansville and Wells Township. 

The alternate route also follows established corridors, generally following an active railroad and U.S. Highway 2. 

Estimated cost of the project is between $105 million and $132 million. A more-refined estimate will be determined as detailed design of the line continues and a final route is selected.

“Filing the application moves the project into the approval process,” French said. “The Michigan Public Service Commission has one year to approve or deny the project. If approved, the PSC selects the route. It is very important for those interested in the project to participate in the commission’s process.”

To access the application and follow the regulatory review, visit the MPSC website http://efile.mpsc.state.mi.us/efile and search for Case # U-17272.

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American Transmission Co. releases annual 10-year plan http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/american-transmission-co-releases-annual-10-year-plan/ Thu, 03 Oct 2013 18:25:28 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=4043 Regional planning demonstrates economic value of grid improvements

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Noting that evolving energy markets and increased use of renewable energy are driving the need for electrical grid improvements, American Transmission Co. has announced plans to assure continued reliability in its recent 10-Year Transmission System Assessment.

“Future projects will address economic and public policy benefits, along with local and regional reliability,” said John Flynn, ATC’s executive vice president of strategic planning and project development. “Our 10-year plan calls for $3 billion to $3.6 billion in transmission system improvements.”

The expenditures include $1.2 billion in improvements and additions to the transmission network, $1.1 billion in maintenance and $0.5 billion in regional projects, the costs of which will be shared across the Upper Midwest. Other capital projects will range from $0.2 billion to $0.8 billion.

The report also notes that as regional planning efforts evolve and become more sophisticated, the economic benefits of transmission improvements become more evident. Easing congestion and providing access to sources of lower cost energy will help keep electricity prices in check. ATC estimates that, over the past three years, 99 percent of the cost of its transmission projects will be offset by savings in energy prices over the life of the projects.

The 10-Year Assessment, available online at www.ATC10YearPlan.com, lists more than 70 projects across the ATC service area.

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ATC to rebuild transmission line in southeast Wisconsin, four-county region http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/atc-to-rebuild-transmission-line-in-southeast-wisconsin-four-county-region/ Mon, 19 Aug 2013 18:32:25 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=3958 Original line built in late 1940s       

Pewaukee, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has received approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to reconstruct an existing 53-mile, 138-kV transmission line through a four-county region in southeast Wisconsin. This rebuild will occur between the Waukesha Substation in the City of Waukesha, through Jefferson and Dodge Counties to the St. Lawrence Substation in the Village of Slinger in Washington County.

Known as the Quad County Reliability Project, this project will help maintain reliability of the electric transmission system. The existing transmission line was originally built in the late 1940s and this rebuild will allow the system to meet current and future electricity loads.

Work on the project includes replacing approximately 423 structures along the entire route. New electricity-carrying wires and fiber optic wires will be installed on 35 miles of the line; the remaining portions of the line will carry the existing conductors, which will be transferred from the old structures to the new ones. In some areas, new structures have already been replaced as part of a separate project needed to achieve required safety clearances between the wires and the ground.

Construction is expected to begin in fall 2014. The estimated cost of the project is $59 million and the targeted in-service date is 2017. Landowners along the right-of-way have been informed of the project and will continue to be kept apprised as the project proceeds. No new right-of-way is needed for this project, but ATC will work with landowners to access the right-of-way through their property if necessary.

 Additional information is available at www.atc-projects.com.

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Helicopter, air saw to be used for tree trimming http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/helicopter-air-saw-to-be-used-for-tree-trimming-4/ Tue, 06 Aug 2013 18:50:05 +0000 http://www.atcllc.com/?p=3939 Ground access to transmission line corridor presents difficulties

A helicopter and heavy-duty air saw will be used to trim trees along a 20-mile transmission line corridor west of Stevens Point, Wis., this week.

“Difficult terrain and wetlands around the transmission line corridor make it very difficult to access with ground crews,” said Dan Horton, vegetation management specialist for American Transmission Co. “The helicopter and air saw allow trimming to be performed in a few hours; a ground-based crew might take several days to accomplish the same amount of work in difficult conditions.”

ATC has contracted with Aerial Solutions, Inc., a company that specializes in aerial tree management along transmission line corridors. The helicopters are equipped with a heavy-duty air saw with rotary blades suspended on a 90-foot vertical boom. In some areas, additional vegetation may be removed by ground crews.

Managing the growth of trees and other vegetation is key to helping ensure public safety and electric system reliability. ATC performs routine vegetation management on its 9,480 miles of transmission lines in five-year cycles.

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New WIRES study first guide to all benefits of building transmission http://www.atcllc.com/whats-current/wires-new-study-is-first-guide-to-all-benefits-of-building-transmission/ Tue, 30 Jul 2013 19:50:32 +0000 </