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Foxconn Project Prompts We Energies to Move up Plans for Natural Gas Upgrades

WE Energies plans to accelerate its plans for natural gas upgrades to accommodate the Foxconn development in Racine County. A $140 million natural gas project is planned for the area around Foxconn, WEC Energy Group chairman and chief executive officer Gale Klappa announced on May 1.

“Our natural gas project is another source of reliability to existing customers in southeast Wisconsin,” said Amy Jahns, spokeswoman for We Energies. “This project was planned prior to the Foxconn announcement. We recently accelerated our timetable for this project to coordinate with the Wisconsin DOT road work being planned for the area near Foxconn.”

Wisconsin Electric Power Co., a subsidiary of WEC doing business as We Energies, submitted plans this week to the state Public Service Commission for a nearly $32 million project to install 8.8 miles of distribution main primarily along Highway KR from Meachem Road to a little more than three-quarters of a mile west of Interstate 94.

TAX REFORM BILL – HOW WILL IT BENEFIT THE RATEPAYER?

The recently enacted Tax Reform Bill will, among other things, reduce the corporate income tax rate from a maximum of 35 percent to a flat rate of 21 percent for tax years beginning after 2017. On January 10, 2018 the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) issued a request that each utility provide comments on how it proposes to implement changes resulting from the Tax Reform Bill for the benefit of ratepayers. The PSC estimates that the utilities will over collect from customers between $190 and $198 million, because the rates customers are currently paying are based on the revenue requirement at the higher tax rate. All of the Wisconsin utilities, along with consumer groups have submitted initial comments. The comments from the utilities suggest a variety of alternative approaches including: customer bill credits, use of savings for capital improvements, addressing the issue in future rate cases, and reducing pre-existing deferred balances. The consumer groups advocated for returning the savings in the form of a bill credit. The commission is currently considering various alternatives and has not yet issued a final order.

Wisconsin Energy Grid Likely to be Less Coal-Fired in the Future

Wisconsin’s energy production is in line with national trends that show declining use of fossil fuel plants, in particular coal-fired plants. A recent report from the U.S. Energy Information  Administration found nearly all utility-scale power plants in the United States that have been retired over the past decade were powered by fossil fuels. Forty-seven percent of those were coal-fired generators.

The data on retired Wisconsin plants is in line with the national figures. We Energies announced in November it would close the Pleasant Prairie coal plant in Kenosha County in 2018.

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WEC GROUP CEO LEVERETT RECOVERING FROM STROKE

WEC Energy Group president and CEO Allen Leverett has been hospitalized following an apparent stroke.
The Board ofDirectors at the Milwaukee-based parent company of We Energies has voted to name Gale
Klappa, 67, to the interim role “until such time as Mr. Leverett is able to re-assume those responsibilities,”
the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Klappa has been serving
as non-executive Chairman. Leverett, 51, took over as CEO on May 1, 2016 when he was 49.

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