WPL is penalized for unclear information about wind-farm project
From an article by Judy Newman in the Wisconsin State Journal:
Wisconsin Power & Light got a slap on the wrist from state regulators for not making it clear that there will be problems getting electricity out to consumers from a major wind farm the Madison utility company is building in Minnesota.
Last April, WPL requested a $35.4 million rate boost for 2011, primarily to help pay for the Bent Tree wind farm near Albert Lea, Minn., which is expected to cost more than $450 million. The rate request was later reduced to $16 million in an agreement between the utility and regulators.
On Thursday, the state Public Service Commission, in a preliminary decision, agreed to an increase of about $12 million, then penalized WPL $3 million, reducing the amount the utility could charge ratepayers to $9 million.
“The PSC said the utility was not keeping the commission adequately informed of developments on transmission constraints,” said Bob Norcross, administrator of the PSC’s gas and electric division. The problem involves over-burdened high-voltage lines to carry electricity from the wind farm to the power grid, Norcross said. The PSC voted 2-1 for the penalty, with commissioner Mark Meyer opposed.