April 5, 2012 / 1:42 PM / in 6 years

ITC to turn on Michigan-Ontario power transformers Thursday

* PARs could save hundreds of millions in costs
    * Projected to control unscheduled power costs

    By Scott DiSavino	
    April 5 (Reuters) - ITC Holdings Corp will turn on
power transmission equipment along the Michigan-Ontario border
on Thursday which is expected to improve power flow reliability.	
    The long awaited phase angle regulator (PAR) transformer is
designed to improve the reliability of the transmission system
by controlling unscheduled flows of power around Lake Erie,
which could save consumers around the lake in Ontario, Michigan,
Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York millions in electric costs.
    	
    The PARs are located at ITC's Bunce Creek substation in
Michigan and will join other PARs already in service on the
Ontario side of the border at Lambton and Keith.	
    Once this equipment becomes operational, Ontario's
Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the U.S.
Midwest power grid operator, the Midwest Independent System
Operator (MISO), will begin using the PARs to maintain power
flow equal to the net import and export schedule, to the extent
possible.	
    MISO, which oversees the ITC transmission system in
Michigan, operates the power grid in parts of 11 U.S. Midwest
states and the province of Manitoba in Canada.    	
    Although operating in this mode will cause a slight
reduction in transmission capability, IESO said in a report a
couple weeks ago the reduction in inadvertent power flows was
expected to allow much greater utilization of the interface for
energy trade.    	
    Since the U.S. Department of Energy approved of the
operation of the PARs in March, Michigan-based ITC has been
testing the equipment.	
    Power traders said they have noticed anomalies in the power
market during that time - prices or power flows higher than
usual in some areas and lower in others - but could not say for
certain if the testing of the PARs had anything to do with those
so-called anomalies.	
    The testing of the PARs caused no reliability problems. In
fact, officials at ITC and the regional grid operators have said
the operation of the PARs will improve the reliability of the
power grid.	
    For a timeline on the PARs see

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