PSC denies power line independent study request
The state Public Service Commission today denied a request by Dane County and the city of Madison for an independent study on the need for new power lines in the area.
“One-hundred years ago, the Wisconsin Legislature created the PSC, an independent state agency, to ensure the state has a safe, reliable and affordable energy infrastructure and that the public’s best interest is protected,” PSC Chairperson Dan Ebert said in a statement. “PSC staff is dedicated to energy planning and is constantly reviewing transmission needs at the local, state and regional levels. The staff has the technical expertise and professionalism to perform the thorough, comprehensive and independent analysis that the city and county requested.”
The PSC has the authority to approve, deny or modify any proposed electric construction project.
The PSC said that under state law it must determine if there is a need for a proposed transmission line and consider alternatives, including different energy sources, route options and energy efficiency and conservation measures. The PSC also must consider individual hardships, engineering, economic, safety, reliability and environmental factors during its review process.
“The PSC has a long history of having an open process and encouraging those who may be affected by commission decisions to get involved,” PSC Commissioner Mark Meyer said in a statement. “Dane County residents who voted in support of an independent transmission study can rest assured that the Commission will look at every possible alternative and will consider the comments, suggestions and testimony provided for each case when making decisions on upcoming proposals.”
The joint request came from County Executive Kathleen Falk, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and County Board Chair Scott McDonell.
“The Public Service Commission is the place to turn to for an independent study,” Falk said in a statement at the time. “It has the tools and access to the independent expertise necessary to determine if transmission lines are needed.”
Last November, Dane County voters overwhelmingly approved an advisory referendum calling for the independent study to determine the actual energy needs in the area.
American Transmission Co., the power line company for Wisconsin, has proposed constructing a controversial 345-kilovolt line across southern Dane County, with one of the three possible routes going along the Beltline freeway.
ATC has maintained an independent study has already been done and has no intention of paying for another one.