The Batavia City Council has hired a lobbyist to get state law changed in order to sell the city's surplus electricity outside the wholesale market.
The council approved spending $5,555 a month, up to a total of $50,000, on a contract with Morrill and Associates Monday night. It expires at the end of the year.
"We came to the conclusion wholesale markets may not be an area to go in, but to reach any other markets, we would need legislative action," said Alderman Eldon Frydendall, chairman of the public utilities committee, which presented the proposal. The committee discussed the matter in depth at its March 12 meeting.
The city has excess electricity, in part, because demand is not as high as what the city is required to purchase through its investment in the Prairie State Energy coal-fired plant in southwestern Illinois.
And the price of that electricity is higher than current prices on the wholesale electricity market. The city put 50 megawatts of power (in 5MW blocks) up for sale in October, but there was little interest, according to the contract.
The lobbying firm will push for a law change that would either:
• Let Batavia sell to retail consumers outside the city's borders, while keeping the borders closed to other electrical suppliers; or
• Let the Northern Illinois Municipal Power Agency sell to retail consumers.
Batavia belongs to NIMPA, along with Geneva and Rochelle. NIMPA is one of 234 cities or cooperatives that bought into the Prairie State plant, which came online last year.
Because Batavia has its own electrical utility, other electrical suppliers can't sell to Batavia residents or businesses.
Aldermen Lisa Clark and Victor Dietz voted against the contract.