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ComEd discusses high voltage line plans with County Board

GENEVA – ComEd is seeking to run new high voltage power lines through the center of Kane County and DeKalb County to improve the regional power grid.

And some Kane County officials may be seeking a say in the utility company’s plans.

Tuesday, a representative of ComEd provided the Kane County Board with an overview of the utility’s so-called Grand Prairie Gateway project.

Under the proposal, ComEd would run about 57 miles of new high voltage power lines from its substation near Wayne, just east of the Kane County line, to its substation near Byron in Ogle County.

The project will cost about $200 million.

ComEd has said it and its partner in the project, PJM Interconnection, hope to have the new lines strung and operational by mid-2017.

The company has said the new power lines are needed to alleviate “congestion” in the power grid in northern Illinois.

ComEd unveiled proposed route possibilities at a series of open house meetings earlier this month, including at meetings in South Elgin and Sycamore.

Those meetings were attended by about 800 people combined, ComEd said.

The possible routes unveiled at those meetings called for the lines to run generally northwest from Wayne, through St. Charles, Elgin, Campton, Plato and Burlington townships. It would pass either near or through the communities of Valley View, South Elgin, Campton Hills, Plato Center and Burlington. 

ComEd spokeswoman Sylvia Rogowski told County Board members that the utility will host more open house sessions in October. Exact dates and locations have not yet been set for those sessions.

She said ComEd will unveil its preferred route and alternate route at those meetings. Based on public comments, those routes could be altered before the utility submits its final proposal to the Illinois Commerce Commission in January 2014.

County Board members expressed few thoughts on the plan during the meeting.

But County Board member T.R. Smith, R-Maple Park, expressed displeasure with the lack of input the County Board may have on the project, noting that the ICC would serve as the sole governing authority on the matter.

“I know exactly what’s going on here,” Smith said.

Rogowski indicated the County Board would be free to submit comments on the project both to ComEd and to the ICC when that opportunity arises.

To learn more about the project and to view maps of the proposed route through the county, visit www.comed.com/about-us/economic-development/reliability/pages/overview.aspx.

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