Midwest Electric Transmission Companies Form New Policy Advocacy Group

Sep 23, 2003

Midwest Electric Transmission Companies Form New Policy Advocacy Group

Waukesha, WI, September 23, 2003 - The Midwest Stand-Alone Transmission Companies (MSAT) is a new, ad hoc group composed exclusively of companies whose sole business are the ownership, planning, construction and maintenance of electric transmission systems. It is the first organization to address the concerns of stand-alone transmission companies by developing common positions on key issues related to improving the electric transmission grid, and advocating policies focused on transmission infrastructure at the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator and at the state, regional and federal levels.

"We formed this group to give transmission a clear and strong voice on key policy issues related to enhancing infrastructure and investment," said Dale Landgren, Vice President and Chief Strategic Officer of American Transmission Co., and MSAT representative.

"We hope our collective expertise and voice will play a significant role in policymaking to encourage that investment." Landgren added that MSAT has filed comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in three proceedings that include policies with the potential to affect transmission investment.

The MSAT companies include American Transmission Company LLC, Waukesha, Wis.; National Grid subsidiary GridAmerica, Cleveland, Ohio; International Transmission Co., Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Michigan Electric Transmission Company, LLC, Ann Arbor, Mich. All are members of MISO, a regional transmission organization that ensures equal access to the transmission system and serves as the regional reliability coordinator working to maintain and improve electric system reliability in the Midwest. To date, MSAT has developed positions on several issues including:

  • Stand-alone transmission companies - MSAT encourages FERC to provide a regulatory climate conducive to the formation of stand-alone transmission companies and that allows for flexibility in the formation of such companies. The benefits of stand-alone companies include improved asset management, increased access to capital to invest in transmission infrastructure and service innovation.
  • Transmission investment - The group recognizes the need for significant investment in transmission infrastructure and urges FERC to address cost responsibility and associated policies. It agrees that policies such as voluntary participant funding will not encourage transmission to be built and could lead to suboptimal grid expansion.
  • Regional transmission planning process - MSAT advocates a regional transmission planning process that entrusts stand-alone transmission owners with primary planning responsibility for local projects. Projects with regional impacts would be coordinated with and reviewed by the regional transmission organization, such as MISO, and with oversight by state regulators. This approach achieves regional coordination encouraged by FERC. Transmission should be viewed as an enabler of markets, not a substitute to generation or conservation.
  • Wholesale electricity markets - MSAT supports the development of competitive wholesale markets but believes a strong transmission grid is necessary to support an effective and efficient market structure. Congestion pricing alone will not cause adequate transmission to be built.

American Transmission Co.
Maripat Blankenheim

Jackie Barry

International Transmission Co.
Linda Blair

Michigan Electric Transmission Company, LLC
Ed Stoneburg