NiSource CEO: 345-kV, 765-kV transmission lines remain on schedule

NiSource (NYSE:NI) President and CEO Joseph Hamrock on May 3 said that the company’s two major electric transmission projects – a 100-mile, 345-kV line and a 65-mile, 765-kV line – remain on schedule, with anticipated in-service dates in the second half of 2018.

The projects “are designed to enhance region-wide system flexibility and reliability,” he said during the company’s 1Q17 earnings call. “Substation, line, and tower construction are well underway for both projects.”

A NiSource media relations representative told TransmissionHub on May 3 that the 345-kV Reynolds Topeka Electric System Improvement Project (Reynolds-Topeka) and the 765-kV Greentown-Reynolds Electric System Improvement Project (Greentown-Reynolds) that Hamrock discussed during the call are both in Indiana.

The Reynolds-Topeka project is being developed exclusively by NiSource’s Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) subsidiary, while the Greentown-Reynolds project is a partnership between NIPSCO and Pioneer Transmission, the representative said, noting that Pioneer Transmission is a partnership between American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) and Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK).

According to the website of the Reynolds-Topeka project, the project will strengthen Indiana’s electric system and provide improved access to wind and solar energy sources through the construction of the line, which will connect NIPSCO’s Reynolds substation in Reynolds, Ind., Burr Oak substation in Burr Oak, Ind., and Hiple substation near Topeka, Ind.

According to the website of the Greentown-Reynolds project, the project is one of 17 priority projects required by the Midcontinent ISO (MISO). Studies conducted by MISO determined that improvement projects such as the Greentown-Reynolds project are necessary to maintain the reliability of the transmission grid, while meeting local energy and reliability needs, the site noted. The line will connect Duke’s Greentown substation (East of Kokomo, Ind.), to NIPSCO’s Reynolds substation, according to the site.

Among other things, Hamrock said during the call that NiSource is set to invest $1.6bn to $1.7bn in its gas and electric utility infrastructure across its seven states this year.

The company also expects “to invest $1.6- to $1.8bn annually in our utility infrastructure programs from 2018 through 2020,” he said. “These program investments are part of our more than $30bn of identified long-term investment opportunities.”

Earnings report

NiSource on May 3 announced, on a GAAP basis, net income for the three months ended March 31 of $211.3m, or 65 cents per share, compared to $186.6m, or 58 cents per share, for the same period of 2016. Operating income was $416.5m for the three months ended March 31, compared with $381.4m for the same period of 2016, the company said.

NiSource also reported net operating earnings (non-GAAP) of $230.6m, or 71 cents per share, for the three months ended March 31, compared to $197.7m, or 62 cents per share, for the same period of 2016. Operating earnings (non-GAAP) for the three months ended March 31 were $447m, compared to $399.3m for the same period of 2016, NiSource said.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.