Integrys Energy (UNKNOWN: TEG.DL ) has officially received regulatory approval for a $220 million modernization project for its Wisconsin Public Service subsidiary. After completing a pilot project in 2012, the utility developed plans for a five-year large scale project to start in 2014.
Integrys will add on 1,000 miles of overhead distribution lines, as well as 400 miles of distribution automation equipment. According to Wisconsin Public Service Vice President of Energy Delivery Vern Peterson, the primary reason for the project stems from extended outages for some of its customers:
In the affected areas, electric reliability is significantly lower than state and national averages. The areas we will target are those in which customers are repeatedly faced with the loss of power due to storms -- sometimes for several days. When [the project] is complete, these customers will see a level of reliability closer to levels that customers in the rest of the company's service territory already experience.
The regulatory approval will add on approximately $5 per month to an average residential customer's bill. Wisconsin Public Service currently caters to around 443,000 electric customers. Construction is expected to be completed in 2019.