BATAVIA – Anger over the city’s investment in the downstate Prairie State Energy Campus sparked a Batavia businessman to file a class-action lawsuit in August.
Batavia businessman Joe Marconi, who died earlier this month, filed the suit in Kane County Circuit Court.
“We filed it because the electric rates in this town are so high,” Marconi said at the time. “Our main objective is to get Batavia out of the contract they signed with Prairie State.”
Named in the lawsuit are 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. 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. Batavia aldermen in March voted, 11-3, to approve an electric rate hike to address the electric utility’s increased purchase power costs and the need for additional revenues. The hike raises electric rates in 2014 and 2015 in combination with a half-cent increase to the city’s home-rule sales tax.
– Eric Schelkopf