American Transmission Co.

Helping to keep the lights on, businesses running and communities strong®

Blog | American Transmission Co. - Part 54

PowerForward: A changing utility landscape

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.

ATC ranked number 4 on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Top Workplaces list

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

Lightning myths and facts to keep you safe in severe weather

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.

ATC’s Party for the Planet hits 10-year mark with various activities

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.

Nesting boxes provide a welcome home for kestrels

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