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Local

Batavia aldermen ask Attorney General’s Office to investigate Prairie State project

Batavia has long-term contract to purchase power from Prairie State

BATAVIA – Aldermen on Monday formally requested the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the Prairie State Energy Campus.

Batavia aldermen unanimously approved a resolution that calls for Attorney General Lisa Madigan to “conduct an investigation and audit of the Prairie State Project agreements and communities to determine whether the city of Batavia was given full and accurate information about the Prairie State Project before the time it entered into the agreements and whether any affirmative, material misrepresentations or material omissions were made in the presentation of information to the city of Batavia with respect to the Prairie State Project.”

Aldermen at a Joint Committee of the Whole meeting in September unanimously recommended the city should ask Madigan to conduct an investigation. 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.

Residents in October repeated their call for the city to ask Madigan to investigate Prairie State Energy Campus.

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

In 2005, the Northern Illinois Municipal Power Agency, of which Batavia is a member, agreed to a longterm 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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