For Release: 07/19/2013
Wisconsin Public Service Receives Commission Approval for Project to Improve Electric Reliability
The company plans to place more than 1,000 miles of overhead distribution line underground in heavily forested areas where electric reliability is a challenge.
Green Bay, WI - Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS), a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE: TEG), today received approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for a 5-year, $220 million System Modernization and Reliability Project (SMRP) to convert more than 1,000 miles of overhead electric distribution lines to underground. WPS will also install distribution automation equipment on an additional 400 miles of line.
WPS successfully completed a small pilot reliability improvement project in 2012 and used data collected there in developing the larger project. SMRP construction will begin in 2014. The company has already identified the electric line segments it will work on in 2014 and 2015. That information is available at: the company's website.
While WPS electric reliability is typically very good, overhead lines in the heavily-forested rural areas in northern Wisconsin are more susceptible to weather-related events. WPS has heard high levels of concern about the number and duration of outages from customers in these areas. Overhead line segments were selected for the project where the conversion to underground can be done at reasonable cost.
"In the affected areas, electric reliability is significantly lower than state and national averages. The areas we will target are those in which customers are repeatedly faced with the loss of power due to storms - sometimes for several days," said WPS Vice President of Energy Delivery Vern Peterson. "When SMRP is complete, these customers will see a level of reliability closer to levels that customers in the rest of the company’s service territory already experience."
WPS conducted an analysis of its larger electric distribution lines throughout its service area in determining the project scope. The company weighed the costs and benefits of upgrading its lower performing lines and determined a price point at which the upgrades make financial sense and will result in the greatest reliability improvement for customers.
The SMRP rate impact could amount to less than $5 per month for a typical residential customer by the project's end. WPS will contact the residents along the construction route to inform them when the company begins working in their area.
About Wisconsin Public Service
Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE: TEG), is an investor-owned electric and natural gas utility headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It serves approximately 443,000 electric customers and 321,000 natural gas customers in residential, agricultural, industrial, and commercial markets. It also provides electric power to wholesale customers. The company's service area includes northeastern Wisconsin and an adjacent portion of Upper Michigan. Additional information is available online at www.wisconsinpublicservice.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. You can identify these statements by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts and often include words such as "anticipate," "expect," "intend," and other similar words. Forward-looking statements are beyond the ability of Integrys Energy Group to control and, in many cases, Integrys Energy Group cannot predict what factors would cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by forward-looking statements. Please see Integrys Energy Group's periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (including its 10-K and 10-Qs) for a listing of certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements.
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