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Wisconsin lawmakers search for alternatives to power line

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Two Wisconsin lawmakers are calling on state utility regulators to examine the likely effects of a proposed high-voltage transmission line between Madison and Dubuque, Iowa.

Republican Rep. Travis Tranel of Cuba City and Republican Rep. Todd Novak of Dodgeville asked the Wisconsin Public Service Commission on Monday to study possible alternatives before approving the Cardinal-Hickory Creek line, the La Crosse Tribune reported .

American Transmission Co., ITC and Dairyland Power would work to build the 102-mile line, which is estimated to cost $500 million. The costs would be shared by consumers in 15 states and one Canadian province. Wisconsin customers would pay for about 15 percent of the cost.

The 345-kilovolt line would be the third transmission project in western Wisconsin since 2015.

Tranel and Novak wrote that residents worry the project will lead to higher utility bills “without a clear long-term benefit to the average consumer.” Wisconsin has some of the highest electricity rates in the country, they said.

“This is a very troubling trend that the PSC should work diligently to reverse,” the lawmakers wrote.

The line is part of a series of projects to provide better reliability, access to cheaper power and renewable energy, ATC said. The 17 projects will most likely result in an annual net savings of about $21 a year for a typical residential customer, according to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, the regional grid operator.

ATC is expected to file an application with the commission later this spring. The commission will evaluate if there’s a need for the project to be built.

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