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    After Wisconsin Energy Corp. finishes converting its Valley Power in Milwaukee into an all-natural gas generation facility, the $65 million expenditure could mean higher electricity rates for the utility's customers, the Milwaukee Business News reports.

    According to the news source, the current facility sits on 22 acres in the Menomonee Valley and generates 280 megawatts of power using coal as a heat source. The facility is a major asset to the city, as it generates electricity that is pumped into the electric grid, distributed downtown to power businesses and generates steam heat for nearly every building downtown.

    The switch to natural gas will mean installing a natural gas pipeline, which will cost about $26 million.

    "If we wanted to switch tomorrow to run natural gas instead of coal we couldn't do it," he said. "There's not enough pipeline capacity running through that area to fuel that plant so that it can operate the way it needs to operate."

    The project could raise electricity rates by about 3.6 percent.

    However, if Wisconsin legislators continue to discuss implementing energy deregulation laws, residents would be able to choose an energy provider that offers the best electricity rates.