NEW YORK Noranda Aluminum
Holding Corp.s New Madrid, Mo., smelter could see a
change in its base power rate next year.
The Missouri Public Service
Commission (MoPSC) last week approved an overall rate design
proposed by Ameren Missouri, the states largest electric
utility, which requested a 14.6-percent base rate increase that
would impact all customers.
"We have been diligently working
through the rate-setting process over the power contract at New
Madrid," Noranda president and chief executive officer Layle
"Kip" Smith said during a call following the release of the
companys quarterly earnings results Wednesday. "We are
supportive of the rate design."
However, he noted that Noranda
wont know the full impact to the company until later this
year, when the MoPSC rules on the total revenue requirement.
"We expect a ruling on the issue in December," Smith said.
In September 2010, Ameren had
filed a new rate case with the MoPSC seeking an 11-percent
increase, which the agency approved in July 2011. This allowed
Ameren to raise its base rates, and increased Norandas
base rate by 5.2 percent effective July 31, 2011, according to
the companys 2011 10-K filing.
That power contract with runs
through May 2020.
Also, Noranda last month renewed
a five-year labor deal at New Madrid (
amm.com, Sept. 10). It covers about 780 United
Steelworkers union workers and includes employee wage hikes and
retirement benefits, Smith said.
The health-care aspect of the
deal will also be beneficial in the long term for the Franklin,
Tenn.-based producer, he added.
"We do expect the health plan
changes will provide us with greater control over the impact of
future health-care cost increases," Smith said.
The new health-care plan is
focused on "design and employee participation," a company
spokesman told AMM, declining to offer additional