CHICAGO Proposed Kentucky
legislation that would allow aluminum smelters to seek power on
the open market is drawing opposition from three business and
environmental organizations in the state.
The proposed laws could have
negative consequences for other energy consumers, the Kentucky
Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers
and the Kentucky Resources Council said.
Manufacturers, for example,
could see higher power bills, something they cant afford
in an uncertain economy, the Kentucky Association of
Utilities incur significant
infrastructure costs to provide power to manufacturing
customers, expenses that are generally shared by all customers,
Greg Higdon, president and chief executive officer of the
association, said in a statement March 4.
"When we think about allowing a
large user to go outside of that structure to purchase power,
the additional costs of power-system maintenance must be
absorbed by other users in the area," he said.
The legislation could also hurt
the states ability to compete globally for business, the
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce said. "The last thing our utility
rate base needs is another unnecessary increase due to
government policies creating regulatory uncertainty," David
Adkisson, president and chief executive officer of the chamber,
said in a statement.
Century Aluminum Co. is pushing
for legislation that would allow its Hawesville, Ky., smelter
to access power on the open market, with president and chief
executive officer Michael Bless saying recently that the
smelter "is not viable" without a better power deal from
utility Big Rivers Electric Corp., Henderson, Ky. (
amm.com, Feb. 22).
Thousands of jobs are at stake
at the Monterey, Calif.-based aluminum producers
Hawesville plant and Rio Tinto Alcans smelter in Sebree,
Ky., according to state Rep. Tommy Thompson (D., District 14),
who introduced the legislation supported by Century in the
Kentucky House (
amm.com, Feb. 19). State Sen. Joe Bowen (R.,
District 8) proposed a similar bill in the Kentucky Senate (
amm.com, Feb. 12).