Rochelle Municipal Utilities in Illinois breaks ground on new substation

May 19, 2021

by Peter Maloney
APPA News
May 18, 2021

The City of Rochelle and Rochelle Municipal Utilities in Illinois have broken ground for a $13.8 million substation to serve new industrial growth.

The substation will provide 34.5 kilovolt (kV) and 13.8 kV service to support growth in the city’s southern corridor and increase reliability for nearby industries and create the ability for businesses to have redundant electrical feeds.

The City of Rochelle purchased just over 16 acres for the construction of a new substation in 2019.

The substation will also introduce a new voltage class so the city can provide electricity to larger users. In another first, the substation project was split into two yards with the distribution yard owned and operated by Rochelle Municipal Utilities and the transmission yard owned and operated by investor-owned Commonwealth Edison.

Last June, the City of Rochelle sold its transmission assets to Commonwealth Edison. The transaction included about 20 miles of 138-kV lines and associated facilities at the utility’s No. 2 substation.

Commonwealth Edison already had the personnel and equipment needed to maintain and operate the assets as its transmission system surrounds the Rochelle Municipal Utilities’ facilities, allowing Commonwealth Edison to reduce Rochelle’s annual operating costs. Rochelle Municipal Utilities owned and operated the transmission lines since August 1, 2015.

“For a community of our size to be home to three electrical substations is unheard of,” Mayor John Bearrows said in a statement. “The investment our community is making in reliable power for residential, commercial and industrial customers is key to our future growth.”

“Funding project of this magnitude is only possible with the foresight of our Mayor, Council and Staff,” City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said in a statement. “Our financial management is top notch and as a result, we can provide the infrastructure to attract development and create jobs.”

Rochelle, about 80 miles West of Chicago, has a population of about 10,000 people and is known as the Hub City because several transportation routes, including two major railroads, pass through the city.

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