In 2002, Trans-Elect became the first independent company to purchase the transmission assets of a U.S. investor-owned electric utility.
Trans-Elect formed the Michigan Electric Transmission Company (METC) after purchasing the transmission system of Consumers Energy in Michigan for $288 million. The system included 5,400 miles of transmission lines. Consumers sold the system as a strategic move to strengthen its balance sheet and focus its business. Trans-Elect acted as General Partner with an equity investment from GE Capital. Debt was raised by Deutsche Bank and CIBC. METC recently sold the system (or was it acquired) for $555 million.
Trans-Elect helped organize a consortium to purchase the transmission assets of TransAlta in Alberta, Canada, in April 2002. The purchase price was $570 million (US). The sale was a strategic move by TransAlta to become a pure generating company after previously divesting its retail distribution assets. The new TransCo, now known as AltaLink, has more than 7,200 miles of transmission lines. Trans-Elect served as a General Partner with SNC Lavalin; each with a 50 percent interest. Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan Board provided the equity investment.
Path 15, a 500 kv line in central California, was developed by Trans-Elect in a first of its kind private-public partnership with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and the U.S. Department of Energy. The new line was needed to help overcome the transmission deficiency in California that contributed to rolling blackouts in 2000 and 2001.
Construction on the line started in September 2003 and was completed in December 2004, when it was dedicated by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Originally budgeted for $325 million, the project was brought into service for $250 million and ahead of schedule.
The success earned Trans-Elect the “Project of the Year” award from Project Finance Magazine. Path 15 was the first greenfield transmission line to be project financed in U.S. history.
Trans-Elect emerged from the project with a reputation as an industry leader in overcoming complicated regulatory, financing and political challenges.
Capacity from Path 15 is sufficient to serve 1.5 million homes and it had a pay-back for consumers in 4 years under normal conditions.