UPPCO sale may provide new opportunities

UPPCO sale may provide new opportunities

The Upper Peninsula Power Company and its soon-to-be owners hope that the purchase of the utility company will provide new opportunities for the U.P.

Integrys Energy Group agreed to sell UPPCO to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners earlier this year. UPPCO will serve as a solid long-term asset to BBIP, which is an investment firm specializing in large state pension plans.

“People will always need, you know, power, water, things provided by regulated utilities,” said BBIP Principal Rob Keough, “and so, when we look at kind of what are we going to invest their money in, a regulated utility like Upper Peninsula Power is right down the middle of the fairway. It’s a very attractive asset, and it was well run before. From what our investors want and what Upper Peninsula Power represents, it’s a very good match.”

The sale includes plans to reestablish UPPCO as an independent utility company.

“Really what we’re doing is we’re bringing it back to the Upper Peninsula, and so we’re going to be moving jobs,” incoming UPPCO CEO Paul Barry said. “Corporate headquarter jobs, administrative jobs, technical jobs, engineering, our customer care center, our call center, all of that is going to get reestablished in the Upper Peninsula.”

Returning these functions to the U.P. will also allow the company to utilize new information technologies in their operations and provide more responsive customer care and service. The nearly $300 million purchase will not be finalized for another six to nine months, as it is subject to state and federal regulatory approval processes.