American Transmission Company is an entrepreneur in the US power grid business -- a for-profit, multi-state, transmission-only utility. Connecting electricity producers to distributors, American Transmission owns, operates, monitors, and maintains 9,440 miles of high-voltage electric transmission lines and about 520 substations in portions of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The company, a member of the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator regional transmission organization, operates the former transmission assets of some of its shareholders. About 30 utilities, municipalities, electric companies, and cooperatives in its service area have an ownership stake in American Transmission.
Unlike most other utilities, American Transmission is not engaged in the generation, distribution, or marketing of electricity. The company is trying to use this single focus on power transmission to win more customers. Its duties include reliable operation of the transmission system, growing the system to meet current and future needs, and upgrading and maintain the transmission equipment as needed.
American Transmission operates primarily in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
In 2012 the company reported a 2% rise in revenues (thanks to increased demand, higher pricing, and expanded capacity) and essentially flat operating income.
American Transmission has invested more than $2.2 billion on infrastructure upgrades (since 2001), including 1,700 miles of power line. It has also built more 540 miles of new lines during this time period. By 2020 the company plans to spend a further $3.8-$4.4 billion on infrastructure improvement.
Boosting its transmission assets, in 2011 American Transmission agreed to form a transmission utility joint venture with Duke Energy. Duke-American Transmission Co. will build, own, and operate new power transmission infrastructure across North America.
In a major expansion to keep up with demand, in 2011 the company announced plans for seven projects across five Midwestern states (1,800 miles of transmission lines) and the purchase of the Zephyr Power Transmission Project (950 miles of transmission line between Wyoming and southern Nevada). Together, these projects have a value of about $8 billion.
In 2010 it signed two agreements with the Department of Energy to access $12.7 million in investment grants for incorporating smart grid technologies into its transmission system.
American Transmission is one of the first for-profit transmission companies, formed when the US market deregulated in the early 2000s. In 2011 the company was 88% owned by investor-owned utilities and 12% owned by municipalities, municipal electric companies, and electric cooperatives. – less