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CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULED FOR TOWN OF BELOIT TRANSMISSION LINE

Construction on a new 345,000-volt power line in the Town of Beloit is slated to begin this fall, according to a spokeswoman for American Transmission Company. The power line will suspend wires above several properties just south of Finley Road between the Rock River and Gesley Road. The line will span 4.2 miles and connect via a substation to Alliant Energy’s new West Riverside Energy Center, a $700 million power plant under construction near Town Line Road.

ALLIANT ENERGY ANNOUNCES IOWA WIND FARM EXPANSION

Iowa customers and communities will
benefit because of a new renewable energy
source from Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy
company and Invenergy. The companies
announced the signing of contracts through
which Invenergy will complete development
of the 210-megawatt (MW) Richland Wind
Farm in Sac County, Iowa. Alliant Energy
will construct and own the wind farm.

Located in west-central Iowa, Richland
Wind Farm is expected to create more than
150 construction jobs as well as inject tens
of millions of dollars in economic benefits to the local area. It will be completed by early 2020 and is expected to produce enough clean energy for 80,000 average Iowa homes a year.

Richland Wind Farm is part of Alliant Energy’s plan to add 1,000 MW of new wind generation for its Iowa customers by the end of 2020. The expansion comes from five new wind farms in Iowa.  Richland Wind Farm is the fifth and final part of this project.

MG&E PLANS TO LOWER ELECTRIC RATES AND RAISE NATURAL GAS RATES

Madison Gas and Electric has announced it is asking for a settlement agreement with the
Wisconsin Public Service Commission which would slightly lower electric rates and slightly
increase natural gas rates for its Dane County customers. If approved, the rate changes would
take effect January 1, 2019, and run through the end of 2020, according to Steven Schultz of
MG&E.

For the typical electric customer, the rate would decrease about $1.33 a month to the end of
2020. A typical MG&E natural gas customer will see a bill increase of around 36 cents per
month in 2019 and 97 cents per month in 2020.

The electric decrease is caused by the tax change impact of 2017 along with the anticipated
savings of a new wind farm currently under construction in Iowa set to come on-line in the
Spring of 2019.

The natural gas increase is due to infrastructure changes including pipeline restructuring to
ensure natural gas delivery. The settlement will be submitted to the Public Service Commission
for approval with a decision expected later in 2018.

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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