The Presque Isle power plant could be shut down by We Energies unless the company reaches an agreement with the Midwest power grid operator, the Associated Press reports. In a filing with securities regulators, the Milwaukee-based utility has asked the operator of the Midwest wholesale power market to allow it to suspend operation of the power plant, in February through May 2015 unless the power is needed for reliability reasons. According to the Associated Press, Midcontinent Independent System Operator could wind up paying We Energies to keep the Presque Isle plant running. About 28,000 of the power company's 1 million customers are in the U.P. We Energies claimed that it lost around 80 percent of energy demand in Michigan when Cliffs Natural Resources mines switched to alternative power suppliers under the state's electricity choice program. Cliffs decided to switch power suppliers for the Tilden and Empire mines on September 1.
"All of this follows the decision by Cliffs Natural Resources to change power suppliers for their mining operations in the up," said We Energies representative Cathy Schulze. "As a result we now have to rebalance our supply in order to better match that now reduced demand."
There are about 170 employees at the Presque Isle power plant.
For more information on the issue between the power plant and Cliffs Natural Resources, click here.