News | ATC - Part 3
PEWAUKEE, Wis. — American Transmission Co. has named Greg Levesque vice president of external affairs and communications.
In this newly created position, Levesque will oversee policy, government affairs, real estate, environmental, customer relations, interconnection services, local relations and corporate communications.
Since joining ATC in 2003, Levesque has overseen several departments related to his current role, most recently as director of corporate communications, policy and strategy beginning in 2020.
Prior to joining ATC, Levesque worked as a regulatory analyst at law firms in Madison and Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a Master of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin School of Business.
Outside of his ATC duties, Levesque serves on the Community Board of Directors for the Clean Lakes Alliance in Madison and the American Cancer Society Coaches vs. Cancer Board of Ambassadors.
Transmission modifications strengthen regional electric reliability, operating flexibility
PEWAUKEE, Wis. – ATC has completed construction of the Port Washington-Saukville Rebuild Project. This project included a 4.8-mile, 138,000-volt transmission line rebuild, along with modifications at the Port Washington Substation in Port Washington, Wis., and Saukville Substation in Saukville, Wis.
Initially identified in ATC’s 10-Year Assessment in 2009, this $25 million infrastructure investment strengthens electric transmission reliability in the southeast Wisconsin area and improves operating flexibility under certain system conditions. The project was officially placed into service Dec. 18, 2021.
The prior H-frame structures were replaced with 41 galvanized steel single-pole structures and new wires, transitioning the line from a single circuit to a double circuit. The replacement process took place in phases. ATC’s contractor, M.J. Electric, began construction in spring 2020 to coincide with system and operational maintenance activities.
“In addition to new wires, we also installed fiber optic wire, which will provide high-speed data to our system operations center,” said Jon Meiers, senior project manager.
Substation work at the Port Washington Substation included the addition of a control house and perimeter fencing. A portion of the Saukville Substation also was upgraded, and line positions were changed.
Restoration along the right-of-way will initiate in the coming weeks and is expected to be complete this spring.
A map of the project can be viewed here.
Connecting to renewable generation continues driving the need for new, updated transmission infrastructure
PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co.’s new 10-year plan to address the need for electric grid improvements is driven by an increase in renewable generation projects in addition to required asset maintenance improvements.
“Since the time ATC was formed 20 years ago, our aim has been to consistently achieve the highest standards in electric reliability, efficiency and safety,” said Andy Dolan, vice president of system planning. “The interconnection requests we’ve seen over the last year for renewable generation developments in our footprint is unprecedented. In response, our long-range planning efforts are transforming today’s network for tomorrow’s sustainable energy future.”
Specifically, the plan calls for expenditures of $2.2 billion in asset maintenance, $0.2 billion in regional Multi-Benefits Projects, $0.6 billion in network projects and between $0.5 billion and $1.2 billion in other capital expenditures.
“While we’re investing in a grid that aligns with new technologies and generation resources, 50% of our capital projects are also driven by aging infrastructure,” said Jim Vespalec, director of asset planning and engineering. “Significant investments in our existing infrastructure are required to address deteriorating wooden poles and substation equipment initially installed decades ago that is approaching end-of-life. Additionally, new fiber optic wire upgrades and installations also help our operators address unplanned and planned outages and more reliably monitor the status of our grid.”
The full plan is available for viewing at ATC10YearPlan.
Suzanne Allen, president of Allen CFO Services LLC, and Scott Mair, president – AT&T Network Engineering & Operations, have been appointed to American Transmission Co.’s board of directors, effective Sept. 1, 2021.
Allen and Mair’s appointments expand ATC’s board to 11 members. Allen will serve on the board’s audit and finance committees, and Mair will serve on the audit and compensation committees.
“We are delighted to welcome Scott and Sue to the ATC board of directors,” said ATC President, CEO and Chairman of the Board Mike Rowe. “Sue brings valuable financial experience in the utility, information technology and manufacturing industries. Scott brings substantial business and technology leadership experience in the telecommunications industry.”
Suzanne Allen, of Duluth, Minn., is president of Allen CFO Services, a consulting company that brings the power of financial tools to companies that may not yet be in a position to hire a full time chief financial officer but can benefit from the high skill assistance of a CFO.
Allen formerly served as CFO at Unity Holdings Inc., based in Fargo, N.D., and Compudyne Inc., an information technology company based in Duluth, Minn. Previously, she was vice president and treasurer of Otter Tail Corporation, also in Minnesota. She has held treasurer roles with Rural Cellular Corporation and Nash Finch Company.
Allen holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota – Duluth and a Master of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas.
Scott Mair, of Frisco, Texas, is president – AT&T Network Engineering & Operations, where he oversees AT&T’s next-generation wireless and wireline networks, including planning, engineering, construction and operations. He also leads AT&T Labs Research, the company’s intellectual property organization and network operational support, which includes AT&T’s central offices and data centers, energy optimization, network automation and infrastructure provisioning.
Prior to his current role, Mair served as president – AT&T operations and senior vice president – technology planning and engineering. Mair began his career with Wisconsin Bell. From 1985 to 2001, he held several positions with Wisconsin Bell and Ameritech serving on teams such as NP&E, corporate planning and operations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in industrial technology, both from the University of Wisconsin–Platteville.
Utilities file request with Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to rescind and reopen Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project
ATC and ITC Midwest on June 28 filed a request with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) asking the PSCW to rescind and reopen the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project. Dairyland Power Cooperative has also filed its support for the request.
ATC and ITC Midwest discovered information last week that indicates former Commissioner Mike Huebsch engaged in regular communications over several years using the Signal software application with other individuals, including an ATC employee and a former independent contractor for ITC and while the CPCN application was pending. While we have no information that these Signal communications were related to the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Project or the CPCN docket, the utilities are making this request to rescind and reopen the docket.
ATC and ITC Midwest are regulated utilities engaged in building critical public infrastructure projects and reliably transmitting electricity. Like the public at large, we have a shared interest in preserving transparency, fairness and integrity of all regulatory and judicial proceedings.
“The individuals involved in this situation have maintained longstanding personal relationships with each other; however, we are aware this information raises concerns about one of the Commissioners who granted approval of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Project,” said ATC President and CEO, Mike Rowe. “We understand the speculation this presents, which is also why we have made this unique request to the PSCW and are sharing this information with our employees, our stakeholders and Dane County Circuit Court.”
“The co-owners are committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards in all of our work, including proceedings before the PSCW,” said ITC Midwest President, Dusky Terry. “We are asking the PSCW to rescind and reopen the Cardinal-Hickory Creek docket because we are committed to integrity and transparency in the regulatory process.”
This issue came to light during legal discovery in the ongoing Dane County Circuit Court proceeding regarding the Cardinal-Hickory Creek project. We are working to retrieve these communications but given the encrypted nature of the Signal application and its retention settings, we are presently uncertain whether these messages can be fully recovered.
The Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project is a 102-mile, 345,000-volt electric transmission line that will provide a vital link to the future of our region’s renewable energy developments. This transmission line is critical to ensuring a cleaner, safer and more affordable energy future for the state. Its construction and operability will reduce energy costs, improve the reliability and flexibility of the state’s transmission system, and help support the interconnection of renewable generation in the Upper Midwest. Currently, nearly 10 gigawatts of renewable generation are dependent upon its construction – enough to power seven million homes with clean energy.