BATAVIA – Aldermen at Tuesday’s Joint Committee of the Whole meeting unanimously recommended the city should ask Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate Prairie State Energy Campus.
The full City Council will vote on the recommendation. The action 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.
“We want a third party to look at what happened and tell us if we were misled,” 3rd Ward Alderman Dan Chanzit said. “The bottom line is I don’t think the city did anything wrong. I don’t think the city committed any fraud. I don’t think we have anything to hide.”
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. Chanzit was not on the City Council when that decision was made.
Through its power sales agreement with NIMPA, Batavia is obligated to buy 45.8 percent, or about 55 megawatts of the power generated by Prairie State. Geneva is obligated to buy 29.2 percent (35 megawatts) and Rochelle is obligated to buy 25 percent (30 megawatts).
However, Chanzit said he is not implying NIMPA did anything wrong.
“We want to make clear that we are still their partner,” he said.
Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns on Wednesday said the city has no plans to ask for a similar investigation.
“Obviously our colleagues in Batavia have acted in a way they feel is best,” Burns said. “While Geneva is a partner in Prairie State, that’s where our similarities stop.”
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.