Wisconsin Energy Corporation

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Wisconsin Energy Corporation
Type Public
Traded as NYSEWEC
S&P 500 Component
Industry Diversified Utilities
Founded 1987
Headquarters Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Key people Gale E. Klappa, Chairman, CEO, and President
Revenue $4.43 billion USD (2008)
Employees 4,545 (2009)
Website http://www.wisconsinenergy.com

Wisconsin Energy Corporation, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin serves more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and more than 1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin through its utility subsidiary, We Energies. Other subsidiaries are We Power, which designs, builds and owns electric generating plants; and Wispark, LLC, which develops and invests in real estate, industrial/office buildings and urban redevelopment projects.

The corporation and utility headquarters are located at 231 W. Michigan Street in Milwaukee.

On 23 June 2014 the company announced it was acquiring Integrys Energy Group in a cash, stock and debt deal worth $9.1 billion. The two groups said they would be merged into a more diverse Midwest electric and natural gas delivery company to be known as WEC Energy Group, serving 4.3 million customers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota.[1]

Utility companies[edit]

Wisconsin Electric Power Company[edit]

Wisconsin Electric Power Company, which does business as We Energies, provides electrical service for over one million customers, primarily located in southeastern and eastern Wisconsin as well as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We Energies also supplies nearly one million natural gas customers located throughout the state of Wisconsin.

The majority of We Energies' electricity is generated by its coal-fueled power plants power plants in Oak Creek and Pleasant Prairie and Marquette, Michigan; from the natural-gas-fueled Port Washington Generating Station in Port Washington, Wisconsin, and from the Point Beach Nuclear Generating Station north of Manitowoc, Wisconsin (now owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources). We Energies also operates natural-gas-fueled peaking plants, which are used to produce electricity during periods of peak demand, several hydroelectric dams located on rivers in northeast Wisconsin, and from various renewable energy sources, including wind and biomass.

We Energies transmission service is provided by the American Transmission Company. Transmission line voltages are 345kV, 230kV, 138kV, and 69kV. Its subtransmission voltages are 34.5kV, 26.4kV and 13.2kV. WE Energies distribution voltages are 24.9kV, 13.8kV, 13.2kV, 12.47kV, 8.32kV, 4.16kV and 3.81kV. We Energies transmission system interconnections are with Commonwealth Edison in northern Illinois, Wisconsin Public Service in northeast and north central Wisconsin, Xcel Energy in western Wisconsin and most of Minnesota, and Upper Peninsula Power Company and Cloverland Electric Cooperative in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

History[edit]

Headquarters building in Milwaukee
  • 1896 The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company was formed as a subsidiary of the North American Company to provide interurban rail service in a 12,000-square-mile (31,000 km2) area of southeastern Wisconsin. In time, the company began selling electricity not needed to power the interurban trains to individuals and businesses.
  • 1919 Experiments at the company's East Wells Power Plant (then called Oneida Street Plant) in downtown Milwaukee, proved that use of pulverized coal reduced the cost of producing electric power and conserved fuel.
  • 1921 Wisconsin Electric Power Company is formed by the North American Company to build and operate the Lakeside Power Plant in St. Francis, Wisconsin. Lakeside was the world's first power plant to burn pulverized coal exclusively.
  • 1935 The first of five 80-megawatt units at Port Washington Power Plant was brought on line. From 1935 to 1948, Port Washington was the most efficient coal-fueled power plant in the world.
  • 1938 The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company and Wisconsin Electric Power Company consolidated.
  • 1941 Wisconsin Electric purchased Wisconsin Gas & Electric Company and Wisconsin Michigan Power Company, which also had been under the North American Company.
  • 1946 Wisconsin Electric becomes an independent company, no longer part of the North American Company.[2]
  • 1953 Wisconsin Electric placed into service the first 120-megawatt unit at Oak Creek Power Plant. Seven additional units were completed through 1968.
  • 1970 Wisconsin Electric's 908-megawatt Point Beach Nuclear Plant began operation and gained a world-wide reputation for efficiency.
  • 1980 Wisconsin Electric placed the first 580-megawatt unit at Pleasant Prairie into service. A second unit was added in 1985.
  • 1987 Wisconsin Electric restructured, establishing Wisconsin Energy Corporation and the Wispark, Wisvest and Witech subsidiaries.
  • 1994 Wisconsin Energy purchased Lake Geneva-based Wisconsin Southern Gas Co. and merged it into Wisconsin Natural, which subsequently merged with Wisconsin Electric in 1995.
  • 2000 WICOR, a Milwaukee-based holding company of Wisconsin Gas, became part of Wisconsin Energy, creating the largest electric and natural gas provider in Wisconsin. The corporation also announced a 10-year plant to invest US$7.0 billion to build five new power plants, to upgrade existing plants and to improve its electric distribution system.
  • 2001 American Transmission Company, the first multi-state all-transmission utility in the United States, was formed by Wisconsin's major utilities, and Wisconsin Electric transferred ownership of its transmission lines to American Transmission in exchange for shares in the new company.
  • 2002 Wisconsin Electric and Wisconsin Gas began doing business as We Energies.
  • 2004 Wisconsin Energy sold the non-energy assets of WICOR for US$850 million as part of its strategy to divest its non-core businesses.
  • 2005 Construction of two 615-megawatt coal-fired units began at the Oak Creek Power Plant site. The same year, the first of two 545-megawatt natural-gas-fueled units began commercial operation at Port Washington Generating Station.
  • 2007 Wisconsin Energy sold Point Beach Nuclear Plant to FPL Energy for approximately US$924 million, with We Energies entitled to the output for the life of the plant.
  • 2008 The Blue Sky Green Field Wind Farm began operation on a 10,600-acre (43 km2) site with 88 turbines (145-megawatt capacity) in Wisconsin's Fond du Lac County.
  • 2009 We Energies received approval to construct and operate the Glacier Hills Wind Park in Wisconsin's Columbia County. The company also announced plans to build a biomass generating facility at the Domtar paper mill in Rothschild, Wisconsin.
  • 2010 The first of two 615-megawatt coal-fueled units at the company's Oak Creek expansion site attains commercial operation on Feb. 2. Wisconsin Energy completed the sale of Edison Sault Electric Company to Cloverland Electric Cooperative. In May, construction began on the Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County.
  • 2011 The second of two 615-megawatt coal-fueled units at the company's Oak Creek expansion site attains commercial operation on Jan. 12. Glacier Hills Wind Park began operating 90 turbines in the towns of Randolph and Scott in Wisconsin.
  • 2014 Wisconsin Energy announced that it was purchasing Integrys Energy Group for $9.1 billion.[1]

Nonutility companies[edit]

We Power, LLC[edit]

We Power, LLC designs, builds and owns electric generating facilities.

Wispark, LLC[edit]

Wispark, LLC is a full-service real estate development subsidiary, focused on business parks, office/industrial buildings and urban redevelopment.

Primergy merger[edit]

On May 3, 1995, Wisconsin Energy Corporation and Northern States Power Company (NYSENSP) each filed a Securities and Exchange Commission Form 8-K to combine in a merger-of-equals transaction to form Primergy Corporation, which would have been a registered public utility holding company and new parent of both NSP and of the WEC operating subsidiaries. It would have been the 10th largest investor-owned electric and gas utility company in the United States, based on market capitalization at that time of about US$6.0 billion.[3][4] NSP would have been the nominal survivor and the merged company would be headquartered in Minneapolis (headquarters of the old MSP), but the merged company would have been registered in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Energy's utility subsidiaries, Wisconsin Electric Power Company (WEPCO) and Wisconsin Natural Gas Company (WNG), were to be consolidated under a new subsidiary name, Wisconsin Energy Company, headquartered in Milwaukee. Under that name, it and NSP (headquartered in Minneapolis) would have continued to operate as the two principal subsidiaries of Primergy Corp. Also, NSP-Wisconsin would merge into the operating subsidiary Wisconsin Energy Company. NSP's two subsidiaries were NSP-Minnesota, operating in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, and NSP-Wisconsin, operating in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.The merger deal was expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 1996.[3]

On May 16, 1997, both CEOs announced that the boards of directors of both companies had terminated the merger plan because of approval delays by commissions in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Securities & Exchange Commission and U.S. Department of Justice.[5] They also stated that regulatory agencies were changing their merger policies as they were considering the companies' filing and that further delay would reduce the benefits of the Primergy transaction.[5]

The delay already had put the merger five months behind schedule and had reduced earnings for both utilities by a total of US$58 million to that point. In addition, Wisconsin Energy's stock had fallen about 13% since early 1995 when the deal had been announced, while NSP's stock had risen by 6%. The case was considered to be a bellwether in the utilities industry, putting an end to the rapid pace of mergers and acquisitions that had been ongoing up to then.[6]

Tax criticism[edit]

In December 2011, the non-partisan organization Public Campaign criticized Wisconsin Energy for spending $2.45 million on lobbying and not paying any taxes during 2008-2010, instead getting $85 million in tax rebates, despite making a profit of $1.7 billion, and increasing executive pay by 6% to $24.2 million in 2010 for its top 5 executives.[7]

Wisconsin Energy responded that it is in full compliance with federal and state tax laws. In its SEC 10-K filings, the corporation’s effective tax rate percentages were 37.7, 36.5, and 35.5 for years 2008, 2009, and 2010, respectively. Accelerated tax depreciation must be paid back in future years as required by law. Wisconsin Energy will be paying more than $200 million in federal taxes related to these years in future periods. The majority of tax benefits permitted under tax laws have already been passed on to customers and have been used to reduce utility rates. The corporation also stated that it would continue to maximize tax benefits allowed by law on behalf of its customers and shareholders. President Obama and Congress enacted tax laws to provide incentives to corporations to make capital investments to spur economic growth.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Utility firms Wisconsin Energy and Integrys plan merger". Wisconsin Star. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  2. ^ North American Co. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, 327 U.S. 686 (1946). FindLaw.com
  3. ^ a b Wisconsin Energy Corp. Form 8-K, SEC Info, Filed On 5/3/95, SEC File 1-09057, Accession Number 107815-95-8
  4. ^ Xcel Energy Inc. Form 8-K, Filed On 5/3/95, SEC File 1-03034, Accession Number 898822-95-46
  5. ^ a b Wisconsin Energy Corp., Northern States Power Co. Agree to Terminate Merger Proceedings, PRNewswire, May 16
  6. ^ Primergy too strong for regulators' taste, Google cache, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, by LEE BERGQUIST, May 18, 1997
  7. ^ Portero, Ashley. "30 Major U.S. Corporations Paid More to Lobby Congress Than Income Taxes, 2008-2010". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 26 December 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 

External links[edit]