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Local

Batavia residents renew call for investigation into electric project

City has long-term power contract to buy electricity from Prairie State

BATAVIA – Residents at Monday’s Batavia City Council meeting repeated their call for the city to ask Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate Prairie State Energy Campus.

“The details of who knew what [and] when is still not known today,” said resident Betsy Zinser, in addressing aldermen. Zinser and others presented a letter to aldermen signed by more than 1,000 residents calling for an investigation.

Aldermen at a Joint Committee of the Whole meeting in September unanimously recommended the city should ask Madigan to conduct an investigation. Mayor Jeff Schielke said the city attorney is in the process of drafting the language for the request for an investigation. He said the full City Council is set to vote on the request for an investigation at its next meeting in November.

“We expect that this action will be taken in the very near term,” Schielke said. That statement received loud applause from audience members.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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