LONDON Century Aluminum Co.s request for reconsideration of a proposed power agreement at its idled Ravenswood, W.Va., smelter has been denied by the Public Service Commission (PSC) of West Virginia.
The PSC in October approved a special power rate for the 170,000-tonne-per-year smelter, which has been shut since 2009. It agreed to link Ravenswoods power contract to the price of aluminum on the London Metal Exchange but denied Centurys request to pass on some of the costs to Appalachian Power Co.s other power users, including some residential customers (amm.com, Oct. 4).
Monterey, Calif.-based Century responded that the PSCs proposal wasnt conducive to a restart and requested a number of modifications to the PSCs proposal (amm.com, Oct. 30).
The PSC on Friday issued an order denying Centurys request for a special power rate, calling the request "fatally flawed because it would impose an unreasonable burden on ratepayers."
The PSC also rejected the proposal due to Centurys "failure to account for changes in electric rates and its inability to provide funds to offset periods of low utility rate payments during low aluminum prices." However, the agency "stressed" that Century could still reopen Ravenswood.
"Century received notice of the PSCs final decision on its request for a special rate, and we currently are reviewing the order. We will be prepared to discuss the PSCs decision and how it impacts our restart efforts once we have a more thorough understanding of the order," a spokeswoman told AMM, adding that the company remains "steadfastly committed to restarting the plant."
If Century determines that it cant reopen the plant under the power rate plan currently on the table, the company can "pursue discussions with the other parties in an attempt to reach an agreement for a more acceptable special rate mechanism," the PSC said, adding that if nothing comes from those discussions, Century can file another complaint and present a new proposal.
Century has said that a restart at Ravenswood is dependent on sustainable aluminum prices and a new labor contract, in addition to a new power contract.
Three-month aluminum closed the LMEs official session at $2,111 per tonne Monday, up from the $1,900 range it has seen for most of 2012 but still down 10.1 percent from this years high of $2,349 per tonne in late February.
Appalachian Power didnt respond to a request for comment.