* ITC spent about $160 million to build power line
* Line developed in partnership with Kansas power cos
* ITC works on other power lines in Kansas
By Scott DiSavino
Dec 14 (Reuters) - U.S. power transmission company ITC Holdings Corp said its ITC Great Plains unit completed the second phase of a 227-mile power line in Kansas ahead of schedule and under budget.
Early cost estimates for the 345,000-volt line, which entered service this week, were about $160 million, ITC spokesman Joe Kirik told Reuters Friday.
The project, known as the Spearville-Axtell or KETA (Kansas Electric Transmission Authority) line, was originally expected to cost about $200 million and enter service in June 2013.
ITC said KETA will improve the reliability and efficiency of the regional Southwest Power Pool (SPP) grid and make more affordable energy, including renewable wind power, available to more consumers. The power line runs north-south from Spearville, Kansas to Axtell, Nebraska.
ITC partnered with Kansas power companies Sunflower Electric Power Corp and Midwest Energy Inc to develop the second phase of the KETA project.
ITC owns and operates the line and has contracted with the local power companies to maintain it, Kirik said.
The KETA project “is strong evidence that our partnership approach to transmission development provides exceptional value to utilities and their members along with the regions they serve,” ITC CEO Joseph Welch said in a statement.
“Projects such as KETA contribute to congestion relief, nondiscriminatory access to all generating resources and the much-needed development of a regional infrastructure to support a robust 21st century grid,” he said.
ITC built the Kansas segments of the line totaling 174 miles. Nebraska power company Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is responsible for the 53-mile Nebraska portion of the line.
Phase I of the project, from Spearville to Post Rock, Kansas, entered service in June 2012. ITC started work on the KETA project in October 2010.
Elsewhere in Kansas, ITC said it started working on the $300 million V-Plan project a month ago. The V-Plan is a 122-mile line from Spearville (the southern terminus of the KETA project) south to Clark County, Kansas, and then east to Medicine Lodge, Kansas.
The V-Plan is shorter than the KETA project but more expensive because V-Plan is a double circuit 345-kilovolt project while KETA is a single circuit. The V-Plan also has two substations where KETA has only one.
ITC is building the V-Plan in coordination with Sunflower and Mid-Kansas Electric Co.
ITC is also working on a 60-mile line in north central Kansas called Elm Creek-Summit with Kansas power company Westar Energy Inc. ITC said it was building 30 miles and Westar was building 30 miles.
ITC shares were up .05 percent at $78.13 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.