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      UPPCO sale marches on

      Since 1997 the Upper Peninsula Power Company has been owned and operated by Integrys Energy Group.

      Now, Belfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners, a group investing in energy, utilities, and transport infrastructure is in the process of buying UPPCO.

      "We think it's going to be here for the long-term. We think the asset represents one where we can build up a management team. A core functioning staff here on the ground in the U.P," said Rob Keough, BBIP Principal.

      They are hoping to provide new efficient ways to continue supplying service to those 52,000 UPPCO users by investing in more resources.

      Currently all of UPPCO's administration and operations function from out of state, in Wisconsin and Chicago.

      With the new ownership UPPCO will soon make all the company's operations based solely from the U.P.

      So, once the sale is complete BBIP plans to re-establish UPPCO as an independent utility operating only in the U.P. They will have a number of new jobs opening up from which they plan to hire locally.

      "We're going to have an operations center which will involve very technical engineering people. We're also going to have a customer care center, call center, and people that will have employment opportunities through that. A headquarter as well. So, there will be a number of major areas that will need to be staffed," said Paul Barry, Incoming UPPCO CEO.

      Moving the operations to the U.P. also benefits their customers. Customers will be able to talk to representatives who know the area and receive faster service.

      The company isn't looking to purchase the WE Energies Presque Isle Power Plant.

      The sale is expected to be completed within the next six months.