Open house held on new electric line plan

ComEd proposing new transmission route to go through DeKalb County

Published: Friday, July 12, 2013 5:30 a.m.CDT

SYCAMORE – ComEd is seeking public input for its plans to construct an electric transmission line across several counties to improve the flow of electricity.

The electric utility company, which serves 70 percent of the state’s population, has hosted a series of public meetings on their latest endeavor, the Grand Prairie Gateway Project, including an open house Thursday at the Sycamore Veterans Association in Sycamore.

The Grand Prairie Gateway Project involves the planned construction of an electric transmission line between Ogle, DeKalb, Kane and DuPage counties. ComEd wanted to gather public input for the project before pursuing it, said ComEd spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney. The company also is gathering input from government officials and environmental groups.

“We’re explaining what the project is,” Gaffney said. “What it needs, what the benefits are and what it entails.”

The transmission line will carry about 345,000 volts of electricity between substations in Byron and Wayne. The typical household can carry 120 volts, Gaffney said. About 400 single-pole steel structures are planned for the transmission line, she said.

The line’s route will not be determined until ComEd has completed gathering public input, she said. The project will need to follow regulations from PJM Interconnection, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Illinois Commerce Commission. The company hopes to complete the project by June 2017.

The line between Byron and Wayne should alleviate the burden of other transmission lines active in the counties, said Richard Mathias, senior consultant for PJM Interconnection. The government-regulated organization saw the need for the new transmission line for the counties.

“This is an effort to ease congestion and have all the power flow on a more economical basis,” Mathias said.

More than 100 people have visited the open house meetings hosted in Kings, South Elgin and Sycamore this week, Gaffney said. ComEd is still analyzing the feedback from past meetings, she said. Visitors who attend can fill out surveys and help ComEd with data collection.

Kirkland resident John Myers said he felt the open house told him everything he needed to know about the project. He said the project must be necessary, otherwise ComEd wouldn’t be spending so much money on it.

“I would like to think it’s a new way of rural electrification,” Myers said.

Sycamore resident Jim Kolar said the plan for the proposed route seemed amorphous. Because a route for the transmission line isn’t planned, there is nothing that can be voted on or protested, he said.

“We know when it’s going to come,” Kolar said. “We don’t know where.”

Another round of community meetings on the project is planned for August, Gaffney said.

Learn more

To learn more about the Grand Prairie Gateway Project, visit www.comed.com/grandprairiegateway or call 1-877-279-4732.

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