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American Transmission

Utilities File with Wisconsin Commission to Reopen Certificate for Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Project

Sept. 24, 2021
Former commissioner engaged in regular communications over several years using the Signal software application with other individuals, including an ATC employee and a former independent contractor for ITC.

ATC and ITC Midwest on June 28 filed a request with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) asking the PSCW to rescind and reopen the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project. Dairyland Power Cooperative has also filed its support for the request.

ATC and ITC Midwest discovered information last week that indicates former Commissioner Mike Huebsch engaged in regular communications over several years using the Signal software application with other individuals, including an ATC employee and a former independent contractor for ITC and while the CPCN application was pending. While we have no information that these Signal communications were related to the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Project or the CPCN docket, the utilities are making this request to rescind and reopen the docket.

ATC and ITC Midwest are regulated utilities engaged in building critical public infrastructure projects and reliably transmitting electricity. Like the public at large, we have a shared interest in preserving transparency, fairness and integrity of all regulatory and judicial proceedings.

“The individuals involved in this situation have maintained longstanding personal relationships with each other; however, we are aware this information raises concerns about one of the Commissioners who granted approval of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Project,” said Mike Rowe, president and CEO, ATC. “We understand the speculation this presents, which is also why we have made this unique request to the PSCW and are sharing this information with our employees, our stakeholders and Dane County Circuit Court.”

“The co-owners are committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards in all of our work, including proceedings before the PSCW,” said Dusky Terry, president, ITC Midwest. “We are asking the PSCW to rescind and reopen the Cardinal-Hickory Creek docket because we are committed to integrity and transparency in the regulatory process. This issue came to light during legal discovery in the ongoing Dane County Circuit Court proceeding regarding the Cardinal-Hickory Creek project. We are working to retrieve these communications but given the encrypted nature of the Signal application and its retention settings, we are presently uncertain whether these messages can be fully recovered.

The Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project is a 102-mile, 345,000-volt electric transmission line that will provide a vital link to the future of our region’s renewable energy developments. This transmission line is critical to ensuring a cleaner, safer and more affordable energy future for the state. Its construction and operability will reduce energy costs, improve the reliability and flexibility of the state’s transmission system, and help support the interconnection of renewable generation in the Upper Midwest. Currently, nearly 10 gigawatts of renewable generation are dependent upon its construction — enough to power seven million homes with clean energy.

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