Prairie State power complex at center of Midwest fights over electric rates, environment

Energy Associated Press

High electric bills and environmental concerns in towns across the Midwest are sparking face-offs between municipal customers and power suppliers working to recoup investments in a financially-troubled Illinois generating plant and coal mine.

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In Galion, Ohio, utility customers are threatening ballot action. They want the city to repay alleged overcharges they say are being used to mask the financial impact of the Prairie State Energy Campus in Washington County, Illinois, on local electric bills.

In Batavia, Illinois, ratepayers filed a class-action lawsuit alleging consultants negligently misrepresented the financial risks associated with the project, constructed by for-profit coal producer Peabody Energy.

A Paducah, Kentucky, power provider contemplated bankruptcy to escape the financial burden.

Defenders say Prairie State is one of the country's cleanest, most efficient power plants and a solid long-term investment.