CHICAGO Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp.s petition for a lower power rate for its New Madrid, Mo., smelter should be processed quickly, an attorney for the states power regulator said.
Just as emergency rate relief is available to utilities ... so emergency rate relief should be available to ratepayers, Kevin A. Thompson, staff attorney at the Missouri Public Service Commission (MPSC), said in a March 25 filing. Noranda must prove its case for a lower rate, he said, but if they believe they can do so on an expedited basis, (MPSC) staff will not oppose them.
The Franklin, Tenn.-based aluminum producer wants a new rate to be approved quickly so that it will be in place by Aug. 1. The company has said its 260,000-tonne-per-year New Madrid smelter could be closed if it does not receive a lower electricity rate (amm.com, Feb. 19).
Thompsons remarks came in the face of questions from St. Louis-based utility Ameren Corp., whose Ameren Missouri subsidiary supplies power to Norandas New Madrid smelter, about the necessity of expedited proceedings.
Noranda has not said a closure of the New Madrid smelter is imminent but has instead said that the facility could be subject to closure, Ameren noted in a March 3 filing with the MPSC. Every business is subject to closure by its owner at any time, the utility said in the filing (amm.com, March 11).