Wisconsin PSC granted additional time to review Western Milwaukee County application

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) has been granted an additional 180 days to review the application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) and certificate of authority (CA) for the Western Milwaukee County Electric Reliability Project (Docket No. 5-CE-139).

The PSCW determined the joint application for the project, filed by American Transmission Company (ATC) and We Energies, was complete on April 4. However, the PSCW on July 20 told a state circuit court that it would not be able to take final action on the application by the Oct. 1 deadline and requested an additional 180 days, as provided by Wisconsin state statute.

The Dane County circuit court’s order granting the extension to March 30, 2013 was filed with the PSCW on Aug. 24.

Requests for extensions are more common in larger, more complex projects that require environmental impact statements (EIS), a PSCW spokesperson told TransmissionHub on Aug. 27.

“180 days for larger projects is not feasible,” the spokesperson said, “so we ask for [the 180-day extension] quite a bit on larger projects.”

A less-complicated environmental assessment, rather that an EIS, was performed for the Western Milwaukee County project; however, a significant amount of public input has made for a more involved, lengthier process, the spokesperson said.

ATC had previously said it expected 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.

State regulators are expected to hold hearings on the project in November and decide early next year whether the lines are needed. The PSCW would then select final routes for the two 138-kV lines to serve the County Grounds area and decide whether they should be built underground.

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.

We Energies is a subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy (NYSE:WEC).