When DTE Energy divested its transmission business back in 2003, the future of independent transmission companies (transcos) looked uncertain. Growing proved to be difficult, because most integrated utilities continued to view their transmission systems as strategic assets—even if FERC rules prohibited using those wires to gain a competitive advantage in wholesale markets (see “Transcos Reborn,” July 2005). A few transcos persevered, however, and this year for the first time the F40 survey includes one of them.
ITC Holdings—successor to DTE’s International Transmission Co.—went public in 2005. The company owns transmission systems in several states, most notably Michigan, with major projects under development and construction in the Midwest. ITC’s four-year performance fell just short of our top-40 ranks this year (see Figure 1). Nevertheless, ITC Holdings brings a unique business model with industry-leading profitability and rapid growth.
Fortnightly spoke with CEO Joseph Welch in August.
Fortnightly: What makes ITC’s business different from other companies in the industry?