Transmission is the Key to Unlocking Customer Savings

A Letter from the President

Simon S. Whitelocke is the Vice President of ITC Holdings Corp., and President of ITC Michigan. Prior to this role, he was VP and Chief Compliance Officer for ITC Holdings Corp.

What’s the key to unlocking as much as $47 billion nationally in annual customer electric bill savings amidst a rapidly changing generation landscape? Proactive transmission planning.

According to a white paper issued by The Brattle Group on behalf of WIRES, the industry group that promotes investment in electric infrastructure, the net savings associated with a proactive transmission planning and development process in the U.S. have been estimated to range from $20–40 billion in total generation and transmission investment cost savings through 2030 under current regulations. These savings could reach up to $47 billion in annual customer electric bill savings under an even more environmentally constrained energy future. The bottom line, investing now will save money in the long run.

While that message may resonate with many in the energy industry, consumers rarely think about the age of the grid, the upgrades needed to maintain reliability and the benefits of investing in our grid. It’s up to us to carry forth this message.

As we in the industry know, evolving policies, economic trends and new technologies are changing the energy landscape and ultimately how the transmission grid needs to operate. Broad, interregional transmission planning is needed to prepare for the future and will lead to cost efficiencies. Due to the long lead times in transmission planning and changing market demands, there is an urgency to proactively plan the transmission system in order to serve customers cost-effectively, reliably and safely while allowing for the efficient integration of new resources.

A modernized grid is a smarter, cleaner and more efficient grid, able to meet the needs of the rapidly evolving energy landscape and achieve tangible benefits for customers. 

In Michigan, ITC has made significant investments to modernize aging infrastructure, integrate a growing portfolio of renewables and increase system reliability. These investments have resulted in a 41 percent reduction in the average number of system outages in our ITC Transmission system and 17 percent reduction in our METC system.

A recent study, commissioned by ITC and conducted by ICF International, an independent national research firm, further confirms the value of ITC’s transmission investments. You’ll have an opportunity to learn more about this study at ITC’s annual Partners in Business Meeting on October 12. Hope to see you there!

Simon S. Whitelocke
Vice President, ITC Holdings Corp. and President, ITC Michigan