WEC ENERGY TO BUILD NEW UPPER PENINSULA POWER PLANTS

An Upper Peninsula iron ore mine will buy power for twenty years from WEC Energy Group under an agreement designed to provide a long-term power solution for the region whose residents have faced uncertainty over rate hikes. Under the deal, Milwaukee-based WEC Energy will add 170 megawatts of natural gas-powered electricity across two new sites in the U.P. The power will supply Cleveland-based Cli? Natural Resources’ Tilden Mine and other customers. The agreement stems from a 2015 settlement with the state of Michigan. WEC’s coal-?red Presque Isle Power Plant would still close by 2020.

WEC Energy Group Posts Second Quarter Results

WEC Energy Group recorded net income of $181.4 million, or 57 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2016 as compared with $80.9 million, or 35 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2015. WEC Energy Group was formed on June 29, 2015 when Wisconsin Energy completed the acquisition of Integrys. The company’s earnings per share for the second quarter, excluding acquisition costs, decreased by 1 cent per share, from 58 cents in the second quarter of 2015 to 57 cents in the second quarter of 2016.

“Our focus on customer service, operating efficiency and financial discipline contributed to results that place us on track for the year,” according to Allen Leverett, Chief Executive Officer.

Consolidated revenue for the second quarter of 2016 totaled $1.6 billion, compared to $990 million in the second quarter of 2015. The increase was driven by the addition of $620 million of revenue from Integrys. At the end of June, WEC Energy Group’s utilities were serving approximately 38,000 more customers than the same time a year ago. Wisconsin utilities added about 9,000 more electric customers and nearly 14,000 more natural gas customers in the past year. The company’s natural gas utilities in Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota added nearly 15,000 customers compared to a year ago. Retail sales of electricity for Wisconsin Electric Power Company and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation – excluding the iron ore mines in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – increased by 3.0 percent from last year’s second quarter. Residential use of electricity was up by 7.7 percent. Consumption of electricity by small commercial and industrial customers increased by 2.2 percent.

WEC Earnings Accelerate In First Quarter

In part as a result of the acquisition of Integrys Energy Group, Wisconsin Energy has reported net income of $346.2 million, up from $195.8 million in last year’s first quarter. Earnings per share were $1.09, compared with 86 cents last year. Analysts who follow the company were expecting profit of $1.01 per share. That $9.1 billion deal added Wisconsin Public Service in Green Bay as well as Peoples Gas in Chicago and natural gas utilities in Michigan and Minnesota.

Wisconsin Energy May Receive Tax Benefits

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 could result in an estimated $1 billion in cash tax benefits to WEC Energy Group. Executives with Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group said they will use the extra cash available through the federal income tax deferral to increase spending the next two years on capital projects in Wisconsin and other states where the company does business. Congress passed the legislation in December 2015 which was signed by President Obama. WEC Energy plans to spend $500 million more over the next two years than the company previously planned, CEO Allen Leverett told financial analysts. The company expects to spend $1.55 billion in 2016 and $1.9 billion in 2017.

WEC Energy to Sell Network of Gas Fueling Station

WEC Energy Group plans to sell a network of compressed natural gas fueling stations it acquired as part of its Integrys purchase. Building CNG stations around the country doesn’t fit the risk profile for the Milwaukee-based parent company of Upper Midwest utilities, so the business, known as Trillium CNG, is for sale, a company spokeswoman said.

The Trillium business operates 66 public stations around the country, as well as 43 private stations that are used just by one trucking customer. The Trillium network of stations has expanded around the country in recent years, investing in CNG stations from coast to coast. Its assets are valued at about $140 million and it has 111 employees in fifteen states.

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