Weather Authority Alert

Potential Power Problems

By: Justin Williams
By: Justin Williams

This morning's power outage in Madison follows Sunday night's outage in Fitchburg. Both are followed by concerns regarding the reliability of our area's electricity.

"Even a momentary blip in service causes lots of things to go out of service," explains MG&E's Steve Kraus, who says the company produces sufficient power to accommodate today's customers, he describes a growing need for additional distribution lines. "The more options we can get, large lines bringing power in and actual power plants, the higher the reliability is," Kraus continues.

"Electricity usage in Dane county is growing much faster than areas in the rest of the state," says Annemarie Newman, a spokesperson for American Transmission Company--which owns roughly 8,900 transmission lines.

Newman says countywide consumption is growing twice as fast as the state average, and in Southern Dane county, growth is three to four as fast as the statewide average.

Early next year, American Transmission Company is scheduled to begin construction of a new transmission line, which will connect this Femrite Road substation with a substation at Sprecher Road. And, while Newman says it certainly will help meet the rising need for electricity in our area, she explains, that need will continue to rise.

Newman continues, "We have to upgrade the equipment that we have first, then what we have to do is look at what new equipment is gonna be needed to meet modern demands in growth and usage."

Meanwhile, Brett Hulsey of Madison's Sierra Club, says the need for additional transmission lines can be drastically reduced if area residents utilize energy conservation methods, such as energy efficient light bulbs.

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