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Chicago-based utility Commonwealth Edison Co. (ComEd) has announced that it will host its third series of open houses to present the proposed routes for the Grand Prairie Gateway Project, a new high-voltage electric transmission line to be constructed between ComEd's existing substations near the communities of Byron and Wayne, Ill. The new line will connect these substations and travel across Ogle, DeKalb, Kane and DuPage counties and will serve customers throughout northern Illinois.

In addition to presenting the routes, ComEd says company representatives will be on hand to answer questions related to the proposed line and transmission structures and next steps in the process, which include submitting an application for approval from the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).

According to ComEd, the need for the new transmission line was identified by PJM Interconnection, the independent regional transmission grid operator and planner for the ComEd service territory.

ComEd notes that PJM selected the Grand Prairie Gateway Project as the best solution for addressing current system congestion and ensuring the continued efficient flow of electricity across northern Illinois. The utility reports that Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulations require these upgrades to relieve congestion on ComEd's transmission system.

"We are making the investments needed to meet the energy requirements of our region and to protect customers from the increased costs caused by constraints on our system," says Terence Donnelly, executive vice president and chief operating officer for ComEd. "It is our responsibility to maintain an efficient and effective transmission system, and we are grateful for the input of the communities we have received throughout this planning process."

ComEd says it expects to file a request for approval of the transmission line with the ICC before the end of this year. The new line is anticipated to be in service by June 2017, the utility adds.

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