Upper Peninsula electric ratepayers to see lower costs

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LANSING, MI – The Michigan Agency for Energy today said that the system support resource (SSR) for the White Pine electric generator will be eliminated within 90 days, saving Upper Peninsula (U.P.) electric ratepayers approximately $7 million a year through June 2018.Michigan Agency for Energy

Today, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the regional transmission operator that covers most of Michigan, filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to terminate the SSR designation for the 20 megawatt White Pine Unit 1 electric generator in the northwest U.P. because of a solution proposed by American Transmission Company (ATC). Upon FERC approval, the SSR will be eliminated within 90 days of MISO’s filing.

“The White Pine SSR payment will be eliminated by late November, avoiding future SSR costs of potentially $12 million and resulting in more cost-effective system reliability in the Upper Peninsula, something for which we all can be truly thankful in the Thanksgiving season,” said Valerie Brader, MAE executive director. “Currently, when the White Pine unit goes down unexpectedly – as it did frequently during the summer of 2015 – there is a higher reliability risk. The new solution greatly reduces the risk of a catastrophic loss of power in the northwestern U.P. For planned maintenance outages, ATC has already shown willingness and the ability to adjust work schedules to protect electric reliability.

“The Michigan Agency for Energy appreciates MISO’s swift action to put ATC’s proposed superior solution into place, a solution that has near unanimous support.”

In July, MAE said it supported ATC’s proposal to reconfigure its electric transmission system and revise its operating guide in the northwestern U.P. The modification would temporarily return ATC’s system to the way it was configured and operated prior to 1998. The changes would eliminate the need to run White Pine as an SSR unit and comply with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) reliability criteria and the MISO tariff.

Upper Peninsula electric ratepayers who will benefit from the elimination of the White Pine SSR are customers of Upper Peninsula Power Company, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Cloverland Electric Cooperative, Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Ontonagon County REA, Constellation AES, Alger Delta Cooperative, Marquette Board of Light and Power and the municipalities of WPPI Energy.

For more information about MAE, please visit www.michigan.gov/energy.