While Wisconsin winters freeze Lake Superior, Wisconsin Energy warms the interiors of Wisconsin homes and businesses. The company's utilities provide electricity to more than 1.1 million customers and natural gas to more than 1 million customers in eastern and northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It also serves more than 460 steam customers in downtown Milwaukee. Wisconsin Energy has about 5,970 MW of generating capacity, primarily from coal-fired and nuclear-powered plants. The company's primary utility subsidiaries, Wisconsin Gas and Wisconsin Electric, operate together as We Energies. Non-utility operations include power generation leasing and real estate development.
Wisconsin Energy provides electric and natural gas service to customers in areas of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Sales and Marketing
The company's largest retail electric customers are two iron ore mines (in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan) which accounted for 7.1% and 6.9% of Wisconsin Energy's total electric utility energy sales in 2011 and 2010.
Wisconsin Energy's revenues increased by 7% in 2011 due to an increase in electric utility operating revenues as a result of reduction of Point Beach bill credits to retail customers, and an increase in net pricing which includes rates related to 2010 fuel recovery request. Other factors included a growth in revenue from energy sold into the MISO Energy Markets, which was driven by increased generation from Oak Creek expansion units, by net economic growth that increased electric revenues, and by higher energy sales to wholesale customers, which increased revenues. Non-Utility segment revenues also grew.
Net income grew by 15% in 2011 due to higher revenues offset by an increase in interest expense.
The company's strategy is to invest in new gas, coal, and green energy plants, and upgrade existing plants and its distribution system, while selling non-core assets. To meet clean energy regulations, Wisconsin Energy has been shifting the mix of its energy portfolio towards greener supply sources. However, in 2011 Wisconsin Energy's coal plants still accounted for the bulk of its generating capacity, and the company faces significant costs in order to comply with environmental regulations and remediation compliance standards going forward, even as its shifts to more efficient and greener power operations.
In 2011 the company completed the extensive emission-control system retrofitting and upgrade of its 615 MW coal-fired Oak Creek Power Plant Unit 2. (The upgrade of Unit 1 was completed in 2010).
Wisconsin Energy sold a number of assets in 2009 and 2010 in order to pay down debt and focus on its core businesses. It sold its water utility to the City of Mequon, Wisconsin for $14.5 million, and power utility to Edison Sault to Cloverland Electric Cooperative $61.5 million. It also sold its 25% stake in power plant Edgewater Generating Unit 5 to Wisconsin Power and Light Company.
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