WHITE PINE — A plan by the American Transmission Company (ATC) could save electric ratepayers in the Upper Peninsula around $7.3 million dollars annually.

Officials from the Michigan Agency for Energy announced support for the plan to eliminate system support resource (SSR) payments for the White Pine Unit One electric generator in Ontonagon County. Officials say the proposal would shift ATC’s configuration back to how it was in 1998. The payments have been used to keep the aging coal plant operational as required by reliability standards adopted after the northeast blackout of 2003.

“One of the changes that resulted was designating White Pine Unit One as a so–called SSR unit. This is an old plant — it’s sixty years old, not very efficient to run — but it was being mandated to run under these new rules,” said Judy Palnau, spokesperson for the Michigan Agency for Energy. “With the elimination of the White Pine SSR, that would mean there [are] no SSR’s in the State of Michigan.”

The Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette was supported by SSR payments until last year. The decision to adopt ATC’s plan for White Pine now rests in the hands of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO).