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Officials say state should have plenty of power for AC season

Wisconsinites are still getting spring heating bills.

But when it's time to cool the house, the state says we should have plenty of electricity.

Robert Norcross of the Public Service Commission says Wisconsin is in much better shape than a year ago to handle big air conditioning demands on the hottest days.

In part, it's because of the new electric transmission line from Duluth to Wausau that brings in power from Minnesota and Canada. Francis Esselman of the American Transmission Company says the line can import 500 megawatts of power a day if we need it.

Also, the new Weston-4 power plant near Wausau can generate about the same amount. It's due to open this summer, and will be Wisconsin's first new coal-fired plant in over 20 years.

Officials say a new power plant in Port Washington should also help meet our power demands.

It's a lot better situation than a decade ago, when Wisconsin had brownouts due to a lack of available power.

Still, consumer groups say it all needs to be kept in check.

Charlie Higley of the Citizens' Utility Board says too many power plants will make electric rates higher than they should be. His group supports more renewable energy.