The lack of transparency in key areas by Naperville and IMEA runs contrary to the spirit and intent of “public power”, as well as open and accountable government. We see the lack of transparency in the original 2007 Naperville IMEA contract approval process, and the lack of transparency still continues today.
Under State of Illinois law, both the City of Naperville and IMEA are units of local government, and both are “public bodies” that are subject to the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA) and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
(5 ILCS 120/) Open Meetings Act
(5 ILCS 140/) Freedom of Information Act
But an aggressive use by Naperville and IMEA of exceptions and exemptions in OMA and FOIA in conjunction with other practices serves to interfere with the transparency that is essential for public oversight and accountability.
And although the Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC) is owned by nine public power agencies including IMEA, it is not subject to OMA and FOIA because it is not a public body under Illinois law. Additionally, PSEC and its nine public power owners, including IMEA, further obstruct transparency by invoking the confidentiality agreement provisions in the PSEC participation agreement by and among those nine owners.
Naperville, IMEA, and PSEC are also involved in industry and trade associations, which includes lobbying efforts. These groups are not subject to OMA and FOIA, even though participation is funded by citizen and ratepayer dollars.
Unlike the Illinois investor-owned utilities such as ComEd and Ameren, the municipal electric utilities, including Naperville, are not subject to the State of Illinois’ regulatory oversight of public utilities. Likewise, IMEA and PSEC are also not subject to this Illinois regulatory oversight of public utilities.
Citizens and ratepayers of the municipal electric utilities must rely on their elected city councils to ensure oversight and accountability. The citizens and ratepayers are the “public” stakeholders who are responsible for the costs and risks of their municipal utility, including the power supply. Policies and practices that interfere with transparency serve to obstruct democratic participation for both citizens and their elected city councils who effectively serve as the “board of directors” of their municipally owned utility.
The lack of transparency in key areas includes, but is not limited to:
- Reporting on IMEA membership and joint ownership to the citizens and city council members of Naperville
- Financial and operating records of our jointly owned coal-fired power plants, the Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC) and the Trimble County KY Unit 1 and Unit 2 coal-fired generators
- Our Naperville/IMEA power supply goals, plans, and priorities
- Lobbying by Naperville and IMEA, including both costs and positions taken
For further detailed information and specific examples, please see our pdf file document titled “Lack of Transparency by Naperville and IMEA”. You can download and/or view the pdf file using the link below:
Lack of Transparency by Naperville and IMEA