NOVI, Mich., May 14, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- ITC Holdings Corp. (NYSE: ITC) praises U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) today for completing action on legislation that would take needed steps to modernize America's aging energy infrastructure. The proposal calls for reforms to the primary roadblocks the nation faces in developing a truly modern energy grid including how it plans, pays for and sites needed transmission projects. Specifically, the bill enables the development of an interconnection-wide transmission plan, calls for federal backstop to existing state siting authority and delegates cost-allocation authority to FERC through a rulemaking process.
"This is the first step in the process, but it is a significant one," said Nina Plaushin, Director of Federal and Legislative Affairs at ITC. "By providing proposed reforms to the three key regulatory obstacles to transmission expansion -- planning, siting and cost allocation -- the Committee has set a solid framework for deliberation on these critical issues and moved the debate forward considerably. By acting on this legislation, the Committee has demonstrated its commitment to a robust transmission grid that can meet the nation's energy and environmental goals. There is agreement that there is a problem and now we are tasked with the challenging job of coming up with workable solutions."
As the nation's first and largest independent transmission company, ITC has a unique perspective on the obstacles to strategically developing new electricity transmission that will help meet the nation's energy goals. A modern grid, including a high-voltage backbone, will increase reliability across the system, allow the country to take full advantage of renewable energy resources and save the economy billions of dollars each year through access to lower cost power and reduced congestion charges.
ITC supports the broad initiatives in the bill including: using existing regional planning processes, but requiring that an interconnection-wide plan be developed; allowing states to continue to determine where transmission lines are routed, but having a mechanism in place should states fail to site needed facilities; and allowing for a process to consider broad allocation of transmission costs.
ITC is optimistic that, as the legislation moves forward, the cost allocation provisions will be strengthened.
"Members who have opposed broader cost allocation policies have expressed concern that their states only pay for specific transmission projects from which they receive significant benefits," said Plaushin. "The irony here is that by doing nothing we are ensuring that those who benefit don't pay. Wind-rich states are forced to pay an unfair share of costs to upgrade the transmission system to move power to other states where it is used. The entire cost allocation process we have today has a chilling effect not just on transmission expansion, but on the development of renewable resources as well. It has to be fixed."
ITC has long advocated for modernizing America's overburdened electricity grid and recently announced the development of its "Green Power Express," a network of extra high voltage transmission lines that will transport power from wind-abundant areas of the Upper Midwest to Midwestern and Eastern states that demand clean, renewable energy. The Green Power Express will be an integral component to ITC's efforts to create a high-voltage backbone that can meet America's renewable energy goals and eliminate costly inefficiencies in the grid.
"The Green Power Express is a project that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance system reliability and reduce costs to customers through access to high-capacity, low-cost wind power," noted President of ITC Grid Development, Edward Rahill. "The legislation proposed by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee recognizes the benefits of unleashing private investment so that we can develop these kinds of projects."
The Committee is expected to have a final vote on a comprehensive energy package, including transmission provisions, before Memorial Day.
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 (METC) and ITC Midwest, ITC operates contiguous, 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)
Safe Harbor Statement and Legal Disclaimer
This press release contains certain statements that describe our management's beliefs concerning future business conditions and prospects, growth opportunities and the outlook for our business and the electricity transmission industry based upon information currently available. Such statements are "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Wherever possible, we have identified these forward-looking statements by words such as "anticipates," "believes," "intends," "estimates," "expects," "projects" and similar phrases. These forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions our management believes are reasonable. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause our actual results, performance and achievements to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these statements, including, among other things, the risks and uncertainties disclosed in our annual report on Form 10-K and our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time.
Because our forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions that are subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control or are subject to change, actual results could be materially different and any or all of our forward-looking statements may turn out to be wrong. They speak only as of the date made and can be affected by assumptions we might make or by known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Many factors mentioned in this press release and in our annual and quarterly reports will be important in determining future results. Consequently, we cannot assure you that our expectations or forecasts expressed in such forward-looking statements will be achieved. Actual future results may vary materially. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update any of our forward-looking or other statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. (itc-ITC)
SOURCE ITC Holdings Corp.
Copyright (C) 2009 PR Newswire. All rights reserved