WPS Continues Underground Wire Placement In Northwoods

Jul 18, 2017

Storm damage near Stevens Point in June.
Credit Wisconsin Public Service

More power lines are being buried across the Northwoods in an effort to increase reliability.

Wisconsin Public Service spokesperson Matt Cullen says the System Modernization Reliability Project is a multi-year effort by the utility to increase reliability of the electrical distribution system in areas that experience the longest and most frequent outages....

"....some of the areas we've been performing work since 2014 when this project started include Rhinelander, Eagle River, Minocqua, Wasaukee and Wabeno. Those are the areas that have experienced the longest and most frequent weather events in our area...."

Cullen says the first phase of the project began in 2014....

"...and the original project was scheduled to go from 2014 to 2018. And from the success of the original phase, it will allow us to expand to a second phase that will lead to even more reliability for our customers. Once we complete both phases of our SMRP project we'll be able to improve the reliability of the entire system by about 42 percent...."

Phase two of the project will see underground lines in Tomahawk, Wausau and the Green Bay area. Cullen says the impact of trees falling on lines during severe weather is eliminated with the underground lines and they continue to clear problems from the above-ground lines that can't have the underground lines installed. He says improved automation systems also reroute power around damaged sections of line.