LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
A Birds Eye View on Preventative Maintenance
I recently had the opportunity to join our field crew for ITC’s spring aerial patrols. Flying right above a 345 kV transmission line certainly provides a different perspective on the value of preventative maintenance.
ITC conducts biannual aerial patrols of our transmission towers and lines throughout lower Michigan to get an overall status of our ITCTransmission and Michigan Electric Transmission Company, LLC (METC) systems. We look at steel towers, wood poles, conductors (wires), insulators and other equipment to check for damage or wear, and identify vegetation hazards. Our findings are then relayed back to the “boots on the ground,” who initiate repairs and maintenance to ensure our systems are in top shape heading into the peak summer season.
Aerial patrols are just one component of ITC’s comprehensive line maintenance program. We conduct visual inspections both from the air and on the ground of all of our 600 plus circuits every year, and in-depth mechanical inspections of our 18,600 wood structures and steel poles on a rotating schedule. We also look for obstructions in or near our corridors, and potential vegetation hazards.
Trees and power lines are a dangerous combination that can lead to outages and unsafe conditions. That’s why ITC maintains an Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) program to ensure electric reliability and public safety, and to promote stable environments. Foresters and other trained field staff routinely inspect our corridors on a site-by-site basis to identify both compatible and incompatible vegetation species, which are determined by factors such as location, electrical clearance requirements, soil characteristics, and growth factors. This is especially important heading into summer, when demand goes up and lines tend to sag with heavy load and sway with high wind conditions. The vegetation management team employs a variety of control methods such as chemical, mechanical or manual treatments to promote desirable, stable, low-growing plant communities that will resist invasion by tall-growing trees.
Looking ahead, we’re evaluating and implementing new techniques to bolster our maintenance efforts. We’ve implemented advanced GIS software to manage our IVM program. We’re using IML Resistograph technology to gain greater insight into the longevity of our wood poles. And we’re evaluating compression splices to help reduce the risk of splice failures on our lines.
All of this supports greater reliability in our MI systems. Through 2018, ITC has reduced the average number of outages on its systems by 48% in ITCTransmission and 24% in METC. These improvements in reliability track with ITC’s investments over the years and our targeted capital and maintenance programs.
Next time you see a low-flying helicopter over our lines, or vegetation crews in our corridors, know that these hard-working teams are helping ensure a safe and reliable transmission system to keep the lights on and support your energy needs.
Simon S. Whitelocke
Vice President, ITC Holdings Corp. and President, ITC Michigan
CLICK HERE to watch the MiTechNews interview
ITC Supports Red Cross Response to Detroit Flooding
From April 30-May 1, Metro Detroit experienced record rainfall, as much as 3.5 inches in some areas. The result in some communities was devastating. At ITC we are part of the communities we serve. We are proud to support the efforts of the American Red Cross, which responded to the flooding with emergency supplies to help restore affected areas in the aftermath of the storms.
“The American Red Cross provides essential services to those affected by disasters both near and far. When the Governor declared a state of emergency for Wayne County, so close to home, we knew we had to help,” said ITC’s Donna Zalewski.
On May 21, the American Red Cross provided the following update:
“Detroit Flooding Response Update:
As the flood waters recede across Southeast Michigan, we extend our gratitude to our volunteers who have tirelessly stepped up to assist this resilient and diverse community that was seriously impacted by a series of recent heavy storms.
We also are very grateful for all the support coming from our corporate partners, such as ITC, whose financial contributions enable the Red Cross to help restore the lives of individuals across the nation.
In Michigan, this support assisted our team to place a shelter on standby for the victims of the flooding and prepare for potential increased flood damage that may come in the months ahead. Those staying in a Red Cross shelter are provided comfort kits, consisting of basic personal need items, as well as meals. Our volunteers in the field also have been providing clean up kits directly to flooding victims.”
In the event of flooding, the Red Cross offers the following safety tips:
- Turn around, don’t drown. Stay off the roads. If you must drive and encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and go another way.
- If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Head for higher ground and stay there.
- If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary.
- Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officials say it is safe to do so.
- Stay away from floodwaters. Beware of snakes, insects and other animals that may be in or around floodwaters and your home.
- Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
- If power lines are down, do not step in puddles or standing water.
ITC Power Walkers
The ITC Power Walkers kicked it into high gear for ITC’s 15th year participating in the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life. The team – comprised of ITC employee volunteers, retirees and their families – joined in the Canton and Plymouth relay at Heritage Park. “Relay brings communities together to remember loved ones lost, honor survivors of all cancers, praise caregivers, and raise money for cancer research and to support critical services,” said Gail Elliott, ITC Power Walkers team co-captain. “Participating in the annual Relay for Life event shows that every dollar counts – and together ITC employees and their contributions can make a tremendous difference.” The Power Walkers exceeded their fundraising goal, contributing over $11,800. Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Relay is staffed and coordinated by volunteers in thousands of communities and 27 countries. Volunteers give of their time and effort because they believe it’s time to take action against cancer.
IN OUR ENVIRONMENT
Stewardship Starts at Home
ITC’s award-winning Novi headquarters campus encompasses 92 acres featuring a naturalized transmission corridor, diverse woodlands, open green space, wetlands, a nature trail and a large pond. We maintain these grounds under sustainable environmental principles involving employees and the local community through educational outreach programs.
Our employee-led Green Team hosts a number of environmental initiatives, including the Great Backyard Bird Count to track migratory patterns and trends across the U.S. for the National Audubon Society, and the Michigan Vernal Pool Project to observe the wildlife and vegetation occurring in and near the vernal pools onsite. Other habitat projects at ITC’s headquarters include the installation and maintenance of a corridor demonstration garden and pollinator gardens planted with native species, invasive species removal, monitoring of bluebird nesting boxes and bat roosting boxes, installation and monitoring of wildlife trail cameras, and annual flora and fauna surveys.
We have a longstanding relationship with the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) to promote environmental stewardship at our headquarters. ITC holds 15 WHC Conservation Certifications for programs in Michigan and Iowa. Our efforts garnered the 2015 Pollinator Advocate Award from the WHC. The award, presented in collaboration with the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, recognizes ITC’s land management practices to support birds, bees, butterflies, moths and bats around its headquarters and through community partnerships.
Garfield Ave – Hemphill Rebuild Project
ITC, through its Michigan Electric Transmission Company (METC) subsidiary, is upgrading electricity transmission infrastructure in Michigan. Internal planning assessments showed that in the Flint area, the company’s Garfield Avenue – Hemphill 138 kV transmission line, was projected to become overloaded. Additionally, the line is showing signs of age and long-term exposure to the elements. ITC determined it would need to rebuild 9.5 miles of the line, replacing the existing structures with new monopoles designed for higher-rated conductor (wire), and optical ground wire (OPGW). Construction is expected to begin in Q4 2019 and be completed in Q2 2020. The result will be greater capacity and reliability for Flint and the surrounding area.
To learn more about ITC’s METC subsidiary, please see OUR FACTSHEET.
$230 – $690 Billion Investment in U.S. Transmission System Needed By 2050 To Support A More Electrified Economy
The WIRES Coalition has issued a cutting-edge report detailing how the U.S. economy will soon become more highly driven by electric power. The report, titled The Coming Electrification of the North American Economy: Why We Need A Robust Transmission Grid, projects that grid investments totaling $30-to-$90 billion will be needed by 2030 to support the trend towards electrification, and significantly more than that by 2050.
According to the report, the number of electric vehicles on the road and other electricity used are slated to increase exponentially, driving the need for new grid investments. The report projects that electric vehicles will jump from one million today to seven million by 2025, and then increase exponentially from there. The study finds that electrification of the transportation, heating and data application sectors could significantly increase electricity demand and the need for low-carbon and renewable electric generation resources to serve the new load with the most cost-effective clean power resources. A more robust transmission infrastructure will be necessary to support this fundamentally different energy economy.
NEWS & NOTEWORTHY
Brian Slocum, Vice President, Operations, Appointed to Michigan Intelligence Operations Center for Homeland Security Advisory Board
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has APPOINTED ITC’s Brian Slocum for a four-year term to the Advisory Board for the Michigan Intelligence Operations Center for Homeland Security to represent residents of the state not connected to law enforcement. The Michigan Intelligence Operations Center — known as a fusion center — provides 24-hours-a-day, statewide information sharing among local, state and federal public safety agencies, and private sector organizations, in order to facilitate the collection, analysis and dissemination of intelligence relevant to terrorism and public safety.
Christine Mason Soneral, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Receives Philanthropist Award from MSU College of Social Science
Christine Mason Soneral was AWARDED the Philanthropist Award from the Michigan State University College of Social Science. This award is the highest recognition awarded by the college. The Philanthropist Award is presented annually to a select group of individuals, or organizations, with a proven record of providing major, on-going financial support and leadership to Michigan State University. Candidates have demonstrated outstanding philanthropic responsibility to MSU; and their generosity encourages other to take leadership roles in philanthropy toward MSU. Christine currently serves on the College’s Women’s Leadership Institute Executive Board and the Dean’s Board of Visitors.
ITC Honored by American Association of Blacks in Energy
On June 4, ITC was honored by the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) Michigan Chapter for demonstrating leadership and an outstanding presence in the community. ITC was recognized at AABE’s 19th Annual Lewis H. Latimer Scholarship Awards Gala. Kwafo Adarkwa spoke on behalf of ITC, noting, “We are honored to be recognized by the AABE for simply demonstrating our values – that we are better together, one team that respects not only the obvious differences, but also the unique ideas, talents, background and experiences of each individual.” For more information about AABE, visit their Michigan chapter page HERE.
A LOOK BACK
2019 Mackinac Policy Conference
ITC President and CEO Linda Apsey, EVP and CAO Daniel Oginsky, and ITC Michigan President Simon Whitelocke joined Michigan’s most influential business, government, civic, philanthropic and entrepreneurial leaders at the annual Mackinac Policy Conference to engage in collaborative dialogue on key issues facing the state. During the weeklong conference, ITC held over 20 meetings with federal and statewide elected officials along with key stakeholders from across the industry. “Having the opportunity to engage with so many key policymakers on the issues facing our state provides tremendous value for ITC, as we look at ways to address our changing energy needs. We look forward to continued dialog throughout the year,” said Whitelocke.
Register Today! Partners in Business will be in Lansing on October 2
Each year the ITC team gathers with customers, stakeholders, local officials and business partners to offer updates on our activities and projects. Through these annual Partners in Business (PIB) meetings, we work to build connections and share information that allows you to maximize the benefits of our investments in the regional grid.
We hope you’ll join us on October 2 at the Henry Center for this year’s meeting!
Click HERE to RSVP for the meeting and afternoon networking.