NEW YORK Century Aluminum
Co. is now primarily considering purchasing power off the grid,
or spot market, for its Hawesville, Ky., smelter, as opposed to
re-signing a multiyear contract with Big Rivers Electric Corp.,
a spokesman for the utility told AMM Monday.
"Century is looking to go to the
market. Thats (pretty much) the only thing thats
been discussed," the Big Rivers spokesman said. "That looks
like the direction they want to go. I havent heard a word
of a (new) contract (with us)."
Century gave 12 months
notice in August that it would terminate its power contract
with Big Rivers, saying that the 250,000-tonne-per-year smelter
isnt viable under the existing power contract and
todays aluminum prices (
amm.com, Aug. 20).
Three-month aluminum closed the
official session on the London Metal Exchange at $1,949 per
tonne Monday, down 17 percent from this years high of
$2,348 per tonne in late February.
Big Rivers and Century have met
several times over the past seven weeks, but have failed to
come to an agreement, he said.
A Century spokeswoman
didnt respond to requests for comment.
Century president and chief
executive officer Michael Bless told AMM in August
that it is the companys intention to continue operating
the facility through August 2013, adding that it would consider
purchasing power off the grid from multiple carriers if it
couldnt reach a new power deal with Big Rivers.
If Century does decide to
purchase power on the spot market, it has big implications for
Big Rivers, the utilitys spokesman said.
"Once they leave, wed be
losing revenues. We may have to idle one of our plants. ...
Were still trying to figure everything out," he said.
"Theoretically, if they go to
the market theyll purchase power from elsewhere. However,
due to transmission/voltage issues they may technically use our
electricity while purchasing elsewhere," the spokesman said,
adding that Big Rivers is pursuing other customers, or loads,
in anticipation that Century does take its business
"Arrangements have to be made by
August," he said, adding that it is targeting big companies
requiring a lot of power.
"You never know the companies.
They come to you with a project name. They dont want
their competitors or employees to know theyre looking at
a new location. But most everyone thats come to us is
talking huge loads. And if you do your math, only a select few
(industries) use big loads."
This includes aluminum, steel,
bio diesel, or ethanol industries, among others, he said.