Quick summary: The City of Batavia signed a long term contract (28 yrs) to build and buy their power from the new Prairie State coal plant. The plant ran way over budget in building costs, and can’t deliver on its promise of low-cost energy. The City Council signed a contract with NO performance or penalty clauses that could have given us an out if Prairie State didn’t deliver on their promises. And…..the coal is not very clean…..and…..if they shut down for whatever reason and leave a mess, WE’RE on the hook for the cleanup bill. Other cities like Geneva, St. Charles, and Naperville bought into this “deal” too, but they weren’t as foolish as we who put all our eggs in one basket; they have diversified energy portfolios. All our eggs have rotted.
Batavians are purported to be “indirectly obligated” for $246 million in bonds issued by NIMPA, the power purchasing agency composed of Batavia, Geneva, and Rochelle, of which we own the largest share (45.8%) . The question is, when does it become a direct obligation? Where is it on the City of Batavia’s balance sheet? Even worse, the contract is open ended, and we could be on the hook for more with cost overruns.
- For a detailed history of our power predicament, see the PSEC summary .
- For further explanation of why we are paying so much for electricity, see the report by the IEEFA .
- The Tribune has also done reporting on our problem: 9/4/13 and 3/5/14.
(3/17/14) City Council approved a 6.5% residential electric rate increase + $4 monthly service fee increase + .5% added to the sales tax + authorization of reserve fund to supplement electric bills increased to $5 million from $2 million.