We Energies almost complete with Neenah system upgrade

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 3:55 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2021 at 6:26 PM CDT
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - We Energies nears the end of a multi-year project that will improve reliability of electricity in Neenah-- and also benefit neighboring communities. Started in 2016, the project is expected to wrap by the end of next year.

We Energies power crews are working along Nicolet Boulevard, this week, as part of a more than $50 million investment in Neenah to enhance electric reliability for homes and businesses. The project, which started five years ago, is nearing completion.

“What we’ve done here, is we’ve undergrounded over 50 miles of overhead powerlines and upgraded our network by raising the voltage from 4,000 volts to 12,000 volts,” say We Energies President, Tom Metcalfe.

The infrastructure upgrade not only improves reliability, but it also provides safe, clean energy to customers -- while improving aesthetics along the way, too. It’s work that is already making a difference.

Metcalfe says, “We’ve actually improved reliability in Neenah by over 90% since we started this project. And we know that because we look at the number of customer interruptions in the five years prior to doing the work and we’re looking at the reliability now and we can see a significant improvement.”

And while the upgrades are to the Neenah system, if and when severe weather occurs, the underground lines will reduce the number of outages in the city and allow crews to focus on other parts of the community, too.

The improvements are also beneficial when it comes to community growth. Mayor Dean Kaufert believes the upgrades will bring additional people, businesses and industries to town. He adds, “Having reliable energy and having a grid system that employers and manufacturers and business can depend on, and know that they’re not going to have those down times, they’re not going to have to restart machines and things like that, it’s an important piece of the puzzle to make it an attractive place to bring your business and have economic development.”

We Energies expects similar projects to eventually take place in other communities it serves.

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