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 almost 1.1 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 5,990 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.
The company operates a utility energy segment and a non-utility energy segment. Its primary subsidiaries are Wisconsin Electric, and Wisconsin Gas, and W.E. Power, LLC (We Power). Wisconsin Electric and Wisconsin Gas operate together under the trade name of "We Energies." The company’s non-utility energy segment, We Power, owns and leases four Wisconsin Electric generation plants constructed as part of its Power the Future strategy.
Sales and Marketing
The company's largest retail electric customers are two iron ore mines (in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan) which accounted for 6.6% and 7.1% of Wisconsin Energy's total electric utility energy sales in 2012 and 2011.
Wisconsin Energy's revenues dropped by 5% in 2012 due to lower electric utility operating revenues due to reduced sales into the MISO Energy Markets. A planned outage at an iron ore mine of its major customer and the conversion to self-generation by two other large customers cut electric revenues. (Sales to large commercial/industrial customers decreased by 2.8%.)
The company reported net income of $546.3 million in 2012 (4% up on 2011) thanks to a decrease in operating expenses and higher income from continuing operations.
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 2012 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.
To raise cash, in 2012 Wisconsin Electric Power sold its 25% stake in Edgewater Generating Station Unit 5 to Wisconsin Power and Light for $38 million.
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).
The company was founded in 1981 and became a diversified holding company in 1986.
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.