Cliffs and We Energies agree to end Presque Isle Power Plant payments

LANSING — We Energies has heard back from Cliffs Natural Resources and the deal is done.

Cliffs is on board as a power customer through the sale of the Presque Isle Power Plant to UPPCO. As a result, We Energies has approached the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator about ending System Support Resource payments dating back to February 1st.

This still leaves Cloverland Electric potentially footing two months worth of costs, amounting to $4.6 million.

“I want to see the SSR payments that Cloverland is facing, even if there are only two months of them, to be taken away,” said Dan Dasho, CEO of Cloverland Electric Cooperative, “and we are going to fight that battle continuously, and we would hope that somebody would recognize that it is a small piece that could be resolved for our customers.”

We Energies has filed an argument with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asking that Cloverland Electric not have to pay any additional costs.

Brian Manthey, a spokesperson for We Energies, said, “We agree with Cloverland. It should not be Cloverland’s concern to pay for that. It should come from those that benefit most from the running of the plant.”

“Our folks up in the eastern U.P. are in an area of high unemployment, low wages and they can not take this kind of hit,” Dasho said. “We believe that the Upper Peninsula does need infrastructure improvements, but not just on the western end. We need a good Michigan solution that connects the Upper Peninsula to the Lower Peninsula better. Improve our infrastructure. Allow us to access power in the Lower Peninsula, which we cannot do today.”

In a previous interview, Manthey said, “One thing to clarify is any of those cost allocations to the various utilities in both Wisconsin and Michigan, those cost allocations have not been finalized, and in fact the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is still looking into how those costs should be allocated. Secondly, while the SSR agreement stays in place any money that we receive from the SSR agreements goes into escrow, and then at some point there will be a reconciliation.”