wps lineman underground work

System Modernization and Reliability Project

We focus on delivering reliable energy every day to homes and businesses across northeast and north central Wisconsin. However, severe weather, trees and other factors can affect our electric system. We have significantly reduced the impact of these events through our nationally-renowned System Modernization and Reliability Project (SMRP), which we completed in 2021.

Project details

SMRP is a groundbreaking, eight-year effort to improve the reliability of our electric system, particularly in Wisconsin’s most heavily-forested areas. The project focused on replacing overhead power lines, utility poles and equipment with more than 2,000 miles of underground cables. We also installed state-of-the-art automation technology, strengthening key overhead lines that remained.

These innovative steps have helped us significantly reduce power outages for our customers. We have improved reliability by more than 95% in areas where power lines were buried and new equipment was installed. We also improved the reliability of our entire electric system by 42% through the SMRP.

We began working on the SMRP in 2014, completing the project in 2021. We continue to improve the reliability of our electric system in other areas by using the strategies we developed through the SMRP.

National recognition for reliability efforts

We have earned national honors for the success of the SMRP. These include the 2021 ReliabilityOne® Most Improved Utility Award from PA Consulting, which we received based on the success of the SMRP. We and our parent company, WEC Energy Group, also were named a finalist for the Edison Electric Institute’s prestigious 2022 Edison Award for the SMRP.