OKLAHOMA CITY, Sept 11, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- ITC Great Plains, a subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp., today received approval from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) to operate as a transmission utility in the state in order to construct, own, operate and maintain electric transmission lines in Oklahoma.
ITC Great Plains, headquartered in Topeka, Kan., received similar approval from the Kansas Corporation Commission in 2007 and has several high-voltage transmission lines in the development and planning phase in both Kansas and Oklahoma.
"This decision is good for Oklahoma," said Joseph L. Welch, chairman, president and CEO of ITC Holdings Corp. "It gives us the certainty we need to invest millions of dollars in Oklahoma, and it also supports a growing vision in the state and across the region to build a modern, robust and integrated transmission grid to meet growing demand for the coming decades in Oklahoma and the entire country."
Welch continued, "ITC is committed to working with state and local officials as well as citizens on how Oklahoma can build a dynamic transmission infrastructure with minimal economical and environmental impact. It is our pledge, and I can assure you we will work hard every day to fulfill it."
The OCC's decision positions ITC Great Plains to move forward with certainty regarding the 'rules of the road' in Oklahoma for its announced commitments to the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP) to add regional transmission. "As a company focused entirely on transmission, we have been at the forefront working with the SPP on seeking solutions to build a regional transmission grid serving the best interests of both Oklahoma and the region," Carl A. Huslig, president of ITC Great Plains, said. "We believe, based on the growing national scope of our business and what we are already doing in this region, we are indeed the best positioned and best qualified to execute the SPP's plan in Oklahoma."
"We are pleased with the decision from the OCC, and we appreciate the thorough evaluation the commission gave to our application," said Huslig. "There is an undeniable need for additional electric transmission capacity in Oklahoma, particularly in the western half of the state, and this designation positions us to provide reliable and efficient transmission service to utility customers now and for decades to come."
Huslig further noted that utility status allows ITC Great Plains to move forward with a previously-announced commitment to facilitate development of wind energy in the state by investing in critical electric infrastructure.
"Oklahoma is ripe for the emergence of wind energy as an economic development driver and renewable energy resource, and we believe new electric transmission infrastructure will play a key role in establishing wind energy as even more of a reality than it is today," Huslig said. "The bottom line is energy demand will only increase in the future and construction of new transmission lines is absolutely necessary to ensure Oklahomans have safe, reliable electric energy."
About ITC Holdings Corp.
ITC Holdings Corp. (NYSE: ITC) invests in the electricity transmission grid to improve electric reliability, improve access to markets, and lower the overall cost of delivered energy. ITC is the largest independent electricity transmission company in the country. Through its subsidiaries, ITCTransmission, Michigan Electric Transmission Company, LLC (METC) and ITC Midwest LLC, ITC operates regulated, high-voltage transmission systems in Michigan's Lower Peninsula and portions of Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Missouri serving a combined peak load in excess of 25,000 megawatts. ITC is also focused on new areas where significant transmission system improvements are needed through subsidiaries ITC Grid Development, ITC Great Plains and ITC Panhandle Transmission. For more information, please visit: http://www.itc-holdings.com. (itc-ITC)
SOURCE ITC Holdings Corp.
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