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Local

Batavia aldermen discuss Prairie State Energy Campus project

Officials debate whether to ask for Attorney General investigation

BATAVIA – Aldermen on Tuesday discussed whether the city should ask Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate Prairie State Energy Campus.

“We should talk about whether we should do it or not,” Batavia 5th Ward Alderman Lucy Thelin Atac said during Tuesday’s Joint Committee of the Whole meeting.

Earlier this year, state Rep. Tim Schmitz, R-Batavia, asked Madigan to investigate Prairie State Energy Campus. Schmitz had said the letter reflected his concern regarding cost overruns on the $5 billion project and the impact on participating communities that might have to pass the cost along to ratepayers.

In 2005, the Northern Illinois Municipal Power Agency, of which Batavia is a member, agreed to a long-term power contract to buy electricity from Prairie State. Geneva and Rochelle are other members.

“We have not seen any evidence of fraud,” Batavia City Administrator Bill McGrath told aldermen. Second Ward Alderman Martin Callahan said he didn’t think the city needed to have evidence of fraud to call for an investigation.

“We have no idea if there is fraud,” Callahan said. The discussion ended without a recommendation from aldermen.

The discussion follows on the heels of Batavia businessman Joe Marconi recently filing a class-action lawsuit in Kane County Circuit Court over the city’s investment in the downstate Prairie State Energy Campus.

Named in the lawsuit are the Indiana Municipal Power Agency; IMPA Service Corp., the consulting division of Indiana Municipal Power Agency hired by the city of Batavia to study the Prairie State Energy Campus project; Raj Rao, president and chief executive officer of IMPA Service Corp. and chairman of the Prairie State Generating Company Management Committee; Chicago-based consulting company Sargent and Lundy LLC, which was hired to study the quality and quantity of the coal at the Prairie State Energy Campus; and Skelly and Loy Inc., a Pennsylvania-based consulting firm hired to study the quality and quantity of the coal at the Prairie State Energy Campus. The cities of Batavia, Geneva and Rochelle are named respondents in the suit.

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