We Energies’ CEO officially endorses undergrounding second Wauwatosa line

The CEO of We Energies has officially gone on the record in support of an underground route for the second 138-kV power line proposed as part of the Western Milwaukee County Electric Reliability Project (Docket No. 5-CE-139).

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) on Oct. 16 received a letter cosigned by We Energies’ CEO Gale Klappa, the mayor of Wauwatosa, Wis., Kathleen Ehley, and Wauwatosa Common Council President Dennis McBride.

The letter stated that Wisconsin Electric Power Company (WEPCO) “has evaluated a variety of potential underground western routes for the proposed new power line,” and included a description of two of those routes, including a version of the route supported by the Common Council, described as a “modified, all-underground version of [American Transmission Company’s] proposed route A.”

Klappa, whose company is co-developing the project with ATC, in July cosigned a letter with Milwaukee, Wis., Mayor Thomas Barrett, and Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy, supporting an underground alignment of the project’s north-south line, and had recently expressed his support for siting the east-west line underground in recent conversations with community groups that also support undergrounding the lines.

The October letter recommended that the PSCW “select an underground alternative route – running east along Walnut Road, continuing south to Watertown Plank Road, and continuing underground into the new WE Energies substation – as the Western Route for the new 138 kV power line.”

As in the case of the north-south line, the most recent letter said, “WEPCO believes that these routes are feasible from an engineering perspective, are cost-effective underground solutions for this highly urbanized area, and are reasonable alternatives for the commission to consider.”

The letter also emphasized the agreement that exists for placing the lines underground.

“The City of Wauwatosa has worked closely with the City of Milwaukee and all of the other intervenors to obtain consensus on proposed underground routes which would be in the best interests of all affected parties,” the letter said. “Additionally, WEPCO and the City of Wauwatosa continue to support all-underground alternative routes consistent with those which WEPCO and the City of Milwaukee have previously endorsed as this project’s proposed southern routes.”

We Energies will build the necessary substation facilities, while ATC will build the transmission lines.

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