Wisconsin PSC judge suspends schedule in Wauwatosa power project

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) has suspended the previously published schedule for the proposed Western Milwaukee County Electric Reliability Project (Docket No. 5-CE-139) in response to a request for a 60-day delay by the project’s developers, TransmissionHub has learned.

A spokesperson for the PSCW told TranmissionHub on July 12 that ALJ Michael Newmark issued the “‘order to suspend schedule,’ pursuant to Wisconsin code,” noting that the parties are still discussing new dates for submitting testimony and for hearings. An order with specific dates will follow the July 12 order, the spokesperson said.

Earlier in the week, the PSC’s assistant general counsel sent an e-mail to Newmark and other interested parties, advising that staff had no objection to the requested extension. The e-mail also included a schedule proposed by staff that would have delayed each facet of the proceedings by approximately 60 days.

If the parties are not able to reach agreement on a new schedule, the ALJ will likely do a conference call with the parties to discuss the matter, the spokesperson said.

The order is in response to a July 2 request by Wisconsin Electric d/b/a/ We Energies, seeking a 60-day extension of the deadline to submit direct testimony in the matter. We Energies said the company was “not prepared at this time to fully present our direct testimony as we continue our discussions with Milwaukee County regarding the proposed substation issue.” We Energies made its request with the support of co-developer American Transmission Company (ATC).

The deadline for filing direct testimony specified in Newmark’s prehearing conference memorandum had been July 13, with a hearing set for Sept. 19.

The project consists of two 138-kV lines, each less than two miles long, which are needed to improve the reliability of the electric system that serves the rapidly growing County Grounds area of the county. The area includes the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

The PSC will determine the final routes for the two lines. ATC expects the PSC to take as long as a year to review the project application, hold public and technical hearings, and do a detailed analysis before rendering a decision.

The transmission lines and ATC substation facilities are planned to be in service by March 2015. The cost of the project is estimated at $20m to $40m.