Transmission & Distribution

We invest in transmission and distribution upgrades and new construction to meet customers’ needs, maintain system reliability, and enable renewable resource additions. We're a leader in the CapX2020 initiative, a regional transmission buildout in the upper Midwest by 11 utilities. We also were involved in three Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., multivalue transmission projects. These projects reliably and economically enable regional public policy needs, provide multiple types of regional economic value, and provide a combination of regional reliability and economic value.

As part of capital spending from 2019 to 2023, we expect to spend approximately $142 million on regional transmission projects and $147 million on distribution projects.

Miles in Operation

Transmission Lines
  2016 2018 2019 Proposed Additions  
345 kV 534.9 534.9 163.0
230 kV 478.7 488.7  
115 kV 877.9 881.7 14.3
69 kV 209.3 209.5  
41.6 kV 3,763.2 3,774.9  
Distribution Lines
24 kV and below  2,627.1  2,664.6 Determined by customer needs

Our studies indicate that Otter Tail Power Company’s transmission and distribution losses as a percentage of our total energy is approximately 9.6%, which has been slightly increasing over time due to our geographic location in relation to generation resources and our rural and vast service area.

Big Stone South to Ellendale

In February 2019 we energized the Big Stone South-Ellendale (BSSE) 345-kV Transmission Line. The line extends 163 miles from Big Stone City, South Dakota, to Ellendale, North Dakota. Our company and Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. own this $210 million line. BSSE is a Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO) multivalue project (MVP). MISO defines MVPs as transmission projects that have regional benefits and are part of a regional transmission plan. MISO cost-allocation mechanisms allow recovering project costs from all customers who benefit from them, so our customers pay less than 1% of the cost.