ATC maintained top performance in line reliability in 2013 highlighted by a “ Best in Class” Transmission Reliability Composite Score for 100‑ to 161‑kV lines.
The landscape in which we operate today looks vastly different than it did when we began our operations in 2001. Then, we were operating a balkanized system of transmission assets with few interconnections with each other, let alone connections with other states. There was little operating margin, especially during times of peak demand in the summer.
Today, we have a more robust network and have established more connections to systems in other states. But a regional energy market is maturing, the grid is being asked to perform in ways it was not originally intended, and our interconnected customer needs continue to change based on economics and public policy regarding air quality issues. As a utility company with an obligation to serve, we work closely with our customers not only to provide reliable service, but also to share information about how changes in their operations impact our system.
Regional planning has become a logical outgrowth of a geographically broader energy market. As new air quality rules take effect, older coalfired generation will be retired and replaced with newer generation, including renewable energy developments in areas with a rich wind resource but without large load centers. Transmission system expansion or reconfiguration of the system will play an important role as changes are made in generation.
Managing our existing assets goes hand in hand with our planning strategy for maintaining and improving reliability and cost-effectiveness.
Our Quad County Electric Reliability Project is a major maintenance effort to replace aging lattice and H-frame structures and wires on lines in Waukesha, Jefferson, Dodge and Washington counties in Wisconsin. Originally built in the late 1940s, the 58 miles of 138-kilovolt transmission lines will be upgraded to include fiber optic wires on portions of the project, providing high-speed data transfer and overall support to the electric system.
ATC line reliability maintained top performance in 2013, highlighted by a “Best in Class” transmission reliability composite score for 100‑ to 161-kV lines, and ranked in the top 10 percent for 345- to 500-kV lines. While lines are performing well, targeted investment is required to maintain reliability.
Transmission remains a good value for the electricity consumer. Transmission costs within our service area remain at about 8 to 9 percent of a retail customer’s electric bill. Retail customers pay for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, plus fuel costs, through regulated utility rates. Generation and fuel make up the major portion of the bill, followed by distribution infrastructure.