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New power line could deliver lower electric bills

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Ted Sullivan
October 18, 2009
— A new high-voltage power line under construction in Rock County is expected to lower the cost of your electricity bill, officials said.

American Transmission Company is building a 35-mile line from the Paddock substation west of Beloit, through Rock County, to the Rockdale substation north of Edgerton.


The line will give utility companies such as Alliant Energy access to cheaper power, company spokeswoman Luella Dooley said.


The savings will be passed on to electricity customers, she said.


Wisconsin residents use more electricity than is produced in the state, forcing utility companies to import power, Dooley said.


The best price for power is often dependent on the transmission system’s access to it. The new power line will give utility companies more access to power in other states, lowering the cost, she said.


The 345-kilovolt line is being built in an existing right-of-way. It will serve customers throughout the state. It is among the most powerful lines in the region. The cost of the project is $133 million.


Andy Fay, a foreman on the construction crew, was installing 130- to 190-foot steel poles Saturday near Edgerton. Workers were transferring three lines from the old poles to the new poles. The lines were not live.


Several cranes, bulldozers, front-end loaders and other construction vehicles were at the site. Workers erect one to three poles a day, depending on weather and ground conditions.


“We do everything as safe as possible,” Fay said. “It’s a lot of big equipment.”


The state’s major utilities, including Alliant Energy, Madison Gas & Electric, Wisconsin Public Service Corp., We Energies and Wisconsin Public Power Inc., supported the project.


The line will be in service in 2010.



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