SAVOY — The village board has voted in favor of being part of a consortium with Champaign in an effort to get all questions answered by Ameren regarding the Illinois Rivers Project.
The city of Champaign intends to hire Richard Balough of Balough Law Office LLC of Chicago to represent the communities' interests. The cost to Savoy would be $1,400.
The Illinois Commerce Commission has approved Ameren Illinois to build a 138,000-volt transmission line from the Rising substation in western Champaign, along the west side of the city, roughly a quarter-mile west of Rising Road, then south past Curtis Road in Savoy. Construction of the line has already begun.
On Nov. 7 Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois, an entity associated with Ameren Illinois, filed for approval from the ICC to build a 345,000-volt transmission line to connect the Rising substation with the Sidney substation, which could follow the same route as the 138,000-volt line. The hearing for approval of the 345,000-volt line is still pending.
On Nov. 30, Champaign appealed to the ICC to intervene in the case with Ameren Transmission Co. to ensure all questions are first answered regarding the proposed route, as well as the issue of shared poles.
Although the two lines could share the same route, they may not necessarily share the same poles because they are being constructed by two different Ameren entities.
Each pole requires 132 to 150 feet of easement. If poles were not shared, the likely result would be two parallel easements, land that could otherwise be developed. If this is the case, the newly formed consortium intends to provide evidence to the ICC to protect the interests of the affected parties.
The Atkins Group, owner of some of the affected land, is supportive of the efforts.
Savoy Village President Robert McCleary expressed a need to keep track of developments on the 345,000-volt line after working with Ameren on the 138,000-volt line.
"We know that we can ask a question and get an answer, but it's not the whole truth," he said.
McCleary also remarked regarding the 138,000-volt line route, "I was really disappointed on how Ameren has responded and treated us in this process."