UPPCO seeks public input on plans

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette The Upper Peninsula Power Company will host multiple stakeholder forums around the U.P. this month for public comment on its integrated resource plan.

HANCOCK — Upper Peninsula residents will have a chance to meet with officials from the power utility and hear about future plans throughout this month.

The Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) is hosting four forums around the peninsula for customers and stakeholders. The meetings will follow an open-house format and are planned for different locations.

All four forums will be open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The first is being held at the Terrace Bay Inn in Gladstone on Jan. 9, and the second at the Finlandia University Jutila Center on Jan. 11. The third forum will be held at River Rock Lanes Banquet Center in Ishpeming on Jan. 16, and the final forum will take place Jan. 18 at the American Legion Post in Munising.

“We tried to pick locations that were convenient for folks to join us,” said Brett French, UPPCO’s vice president of Business Development and Communications.

UPPCO’s goal is to engage customers in their integrated resource planning process, part of energy laws passed in December 2016, French explained.

“We hope that the customers and the stakeholders will learn more about what it takes to meet the energy needs of the future and how a utility (company) like UPPCO goes about the process of deciding what resources it will use to meet those future needs,” said French.

Members of the public who attend the forums will be free to come and go as they please, with no formal presentations planned. Instead, stations will be available to learn more about UPPCO’s future plans and projects, such as its energy waste reduction program, as well as a chance to meet UPPCO employees and experts.

“I think there is a fairly high level of interest throughout the 10 counties we serve both internally from the employees as well as the customers we serve and stakeholders,” French said.

He said it would be difficult to predict how many people will participate.