Energizing Your Future

What's Current | ATC - Part 83

Drumm named associate general counsel at ATC

Will be responsible for federal energy regulatory matters

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Brian Drumm has joined American Transmission Co. as associate general counsel. An attorney licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, Michigan and Washington, D.C., he will be responsible for corporate and policy issues before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Prior to joining ATC, Drumm worked as expert attorney at DTE Energy Co., Detroit, Mich., where he was the sole in-house counsel for federal energy regulatory affairs. DTE is the largest utility company in Michigan and one of the largest utility companies in the country. He joined DTE after 10 years working for law firms in Milwaukee, Wis., and the Washington, D.C. area.

“Brian’s experience with issues before the FERC will bring additional expertise to the ATC legal team as we address the myriad issues facing the transmission industry,” said Catherine Heigel, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of ATC.

Drumm received his bachelor’s degree in political science and pre-law from Michigan State University and his law degree from Indiana University School of Law (Bloomington).

ATC begins construction on Pleasant Prairie-Zion Energy Center Project

Transmission line will provide multiple benefits to the area

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. later this month will begin construction activities on a new 5.8-mile, 345-kilovolt electric transmission line that will strengthen the electric system in southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. ATC received approval last May from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and Illinois Commerce Commission to build the Pleasant Prairie-Zion Energy Center Transmission Line Project. The project also received approval from the Midwest Independent System Operator as a multi-value project for the economic benefits the line will provide to customers of local utilities.

The Pleasant Prairie-Zion Energy Center line establishes another important high-voltage interstate connection between Wisconsin and Illinois. The new line will relieve congestion on the existing transmission system in the area, allowing output from the most economic power plants in the region to supply electricity more of the time. 
“We are pleased to begin construction on this project,” said Mary Carpenter, ATC local relations representative. “We have been working on designing the line, developing construction access plans and obtaining the necessary easements and permits for construction.”

Construction activities beginning this month include vegetation removal and laying construction mats in some areas. In February crews will begin erecting steel poles and stringing wires beginning on the north end of the project in Pleasant Prairie and moving to the south to the Zion Energy Center. 

The line will largely follow the existing railroad right-of-way between the two end points. The project, estimated at $31 million, is anticipated to be completed and in service by August 2013.

Note to editors: A map and additional information about the project is available at

PSC approves ATC’s Monroe County-Council Creek Project

Plan includes new substation, rebuilding existing transmission line between Sparta and Tomah areas

MADISON, Wis. – American Transmission Co. on Tuesday received approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to build the new Timberwolf Substation in the Town of Tomah and upgrade an approximately 17-mile, 161- and 69-kilovolt electric transmission line from the Monroe County Substation in the Town of Sparta to the Council Creek Substation in the City of Tomah.  

 “The current transmission system that serves the area is aging and susceptible to overloads and severe low voltages,” said ATC Project Manager Andy Schaeve. “Rebuilding the 69-kV line and adding a new 161-kV line will help strengthen electric reliability for the area. The new line also will provide economic savings by reducing line losses and increasing access to lower cost power.”

The project involves replacing the structures and wires of the existing 69-kV transmission line and adding a 161-kV circuit to the new steel structures. Transmission line work will generally be completed within the existing right-of-way area. To allow for flexibility on the 69-kV system, ATC also will build the new Timberwolf Substation approximately 1/2 mile south of Interstate 90 along Highway 131.

ATC in July 2010 filed an application with the PSC to construct the project. The estimated project cost is $48 million. The line is expected to be in-service in late 2014.

Note to editors: A map and additional information about the project is available at

Helicopter crews patrol ATC transmission lines

Inspection of lines during next four weeks will help prevent outages

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. is using helicopter crews to inspect its electric transmission system across four states through mid-November.

The crews, using Bell 206B Jet Ranger helicopters, are looking for equipment damage, right-of-way encroachments and vegetation issues throughout the system, which spans portions of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. Identifying these issues can prevent future unplanned outages. The helicopters fly directly adjacent to and above the lines at a distance of approximately 25 feet and avoid flying over livestock where possible.

ATC crews have begun helicopter inspections in the northwest portion of the company’s system, starting in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and will continue in a southwesterly direction through the service area during the next few weeks.

ATC inspects its 9,440 miles of transmission lines by helicopter two to three times a year to identify potential problems and reach the more secluded locales in the company’s service area that are difficult to access by land.

ATC is utilizing the services of Chemair Helicopters of Jefferson, Wis., for the inspections. The effort is expected to conclude before the annual opening of gun deer hunting season, as well as before the transition of fall to winter weather.

Note to editors: A map of ATC’s service area is available at

ATC and Xcel Energy announce public open houses for Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project

Kaya Freiman
American Transmission Co.              

Brian Elwood  
Xcel Energy   

Five public open houses will be held in October

MADISON, Wis. – American Transmission Co. and Xcel Energy are continuing a multi-year public outreach process for the proposed Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project with the fourth in a series of public open houses presenting route options for the proposed 150- to 170-mile, 345-kilovolt line from north of the La Crosse area to northern Dane County.

Studies indicate that the project would deliver benefits toWisconsinand the Midwest region by improving electric system reliability, delivering economic benefits forWisconsinutilities and electricity consumers, and expanding infrastructure to support greater use of renewable energy. If the project is approved by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, the final project length and cost will be determined after a route is selected by the PSC.

ATC and Xcel Energy are hosting five informational open houses. There will be no formal presentation. The open house format allows attendees to drop in at any time and discuss many aspects of the project with ATC and Xcel Energy staff. There will be representatives from a variety of areas, including transmission planning, engineering, real estate, environmental, and construction.   

The public is invited to attend any of the following open houses. Open houses at all locations will be held from 1 to 7 p.m.

Oct. 23, Stoney Creek Inn andConferenceCenter, Onalaska
Oct. 24, Cashton Community Hall, Cashton
Oct. 25, Best Western Arrowhead Lodge & Suites, Black River Falls
Oct. 29, Anjero’s Sports Bar/Grill and Banquet Facility, Mauston
Oct. 30, WaunakeeVillageCenter, Waunakee

ATC and Xcel Energy plan to submit two routes to the PSC in early 2013. If the project is approved, the PSC will select one final route to be built.

Note to editors: A map and additional information about the project is available at


About the Badger Coulee project
The Badger Coulee project was announced to the public in July 2010. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in July 2012 interpreted a MISO regional transmission owners agreement to require equal ownership of the proposed Badger Coulee project. ATC and Xcel Energy are currently jointly developing the project pending FERC action on ATC’s request for FERC to reconsider the July 2012 order.   

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