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.

LEVERETT CONTINUES HIS RECOVERY

We Energies executive Allen Leverett, who had suffered a stroke in October 2017, is in good physical condition and continues making progress in his recovery and rehabilitation work according to company CEO Gale Klappa.

WE ENERGIES FEDERAL TAX CUT MAY NOT IMMEDIATELY FLOW THRU TO CUSTOMERS

We Energies customers may not see immediate savings from $200 million in benefits the company is gaining from President Donald Trump’s federal income tax overhaul. Instead, WEC Energy Group hopes to apply the money to reducing a balance remaining for costs the company incurred investing in electric transmission equipment. WEC Energy Group has filed its plan with the Public Service Commission. The PSC requested all Wisconsin utility companies file plans on how they propose to use the money resulting from federal corporate income tax cuts from 35 percent to 21 percent. WEC Energy says its plan to apply the savings to paying down deferred balances for electric transmission equipment follows a directive from the PSC in the company’s most recent rate case.

SOLVAY COKE SITE TO BE READY FOR REDEVELOPMENT IN 2019

We Energies expects to have the large Solvay Coke property in Milwaukee’s Harbor District cleaned and ready for a possible industrial redevelopment in 2019. The 46-acre waterfront property is the largest piece in an envisioned revitalization of Milwaukee’s entire inner harbor area south of the 3rd Ward. Businesses and the city are pushing to make the inner harbor Milwaukee’s next Menomonee Valley, transforming its underused industrial land with new development over several years.

The Harbor District will release its proposed long-range plan for the area, which encourages new public spaces, offices, manufacturing facilities and housing. The area has a history of heavy industrial uses stretching back to the late 1800s. It has left the land contaminated and vacant for years. We Energies bought Solvay Coke in May.

We Energies Rate-Freeze Plan Wins Regulatory Approval

We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service Corp. won final state regulatory approval for a proposal to freeze business and residential rates for two years in what the company calls its response to complaints from industrial customers that electric rates in Wisconsin are too high.

The public utility companies owned by WEC Energy Group Inc. filed a proposed settlement in April to avoid the cost and effort of a full review by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.  At the time, the companies said 21 industrial customers signed statements backing the rate proposal.

The rate freeze adds two years to an existing two-year flatrate period that runs through 2017. The settlement also makes permanent cheaper wholesale rates that large industrial customers pay for expanded use of power from We Energies. The Public Service Commission has approved a draft order approving the company proposal for 2018 and 2019. The commission in August had voted to support the plan from the WEC Energy companies.

The PSC draft order determined that freezing We Energies base rates through 2019 was reasonable and in the public interest. The order also states that it’s reasonable to authorize We Energies to
extend and expand the market-based pricing for electric service at large commercial and industrial customers.

A WEC Energy spokeswoman said company executives are pleased with the commission’s action.

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