ComEd defends Randall Road high-voltage issue

rawfrogpondUrban and Civil

Nov 16, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)


ComEd defends Randall Road high
voltage issue

By Daniel Duggan STAFF WRITER


Officials from the power giant Commonwealth Edison organized a forum Thursday to explain their plans to build
new power lines along Randall Road from South Elgin
to North Aurora.

While the plans have aroused significant controversy in recent months, company spokeswoman Meg Amato said people need to
understand the need for the project.

"We have to be prepared now to deliver reliable service by the summer 2004,
" she said. "This area is growing; there is a growing
demand for power. We need to act."

The lines would run along the west side of Randall Road supported by metal towers 80 to 120 feet tall

much taller than the typical
foot telephone poles. Compan
y officials cautioned that the power poles would not be steel lattice structures but rather single poles.

"We're trying to be mindful and compatible with the environment," said Richard Mullen, a ComEd engineer who was at the forum.

Other engineers sa
id the area would experience fewer power outages with more power lines, making service more reliable.

ComEd also hired an independent researcher to answer questions about the electromagnetic fields (EMF) produced along power
lines. William Bailey of Exp
onent Inc., a research firm with offices in Chicago and nationwide, said the levels of EMFs that come
from the power lines have not been determined to have any adverse health effects.

"No health agency has determined that they pose a health risk," he sa
id. While there are guidelines for employees to protect
themselves from the fields, he said that occurs at levels nearly one hundred times higher than what comes from the wires.

But many residents weren't sold.

St. Charles resident Gary Snyder said h
e is still concerned with the electromagnetic fields, as well as a number of other issues
including the way the towers will look on Randall Road.

"Something that is an issue to me is the value of my home," he said, noting that the poles will be 300 feet

from his home. "This is a
reduction (in value) of 5 to 30 percent."

When asked about the devaluation, Amato said the value of a home "is based on hundreds of things" and couldn't say whether th
poles would impact people's home values.

Residents hav
e clamored over the plans, and last month a group called People United for Responsible Energy (PURE) formed to
challenge the plans. Members of the group were present at Thursday's event, at the Kane County Fairgrounds; and at times, nea
quarters o
f the people in the room were wearing PURE pins.

PURE volunteers said they found many new members at the event. For that reason, Batavia resident Kris Foster said ComEd's for
might work against the company.

"All we're doing here is networking," she

said. "Those of us who are against this are meeting, exchanging phone numbers and

this is gonna blow up in their face."