Corp.s future wasnt immediately clear after the
Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) granted the bankrupt
aluminum producer a fixed rate for power but denied its request
to buy electricity on the open market.
PUCO approved a
monthly power rate not to exceed $50 per megawatt hour (MWh)
beginning with the Hannibal, Ohio-based companys October
2013 bill and continuing through December 2014, according to an
order dated Oct. 2.
"This rate keeps
Ormets pricing in line with the other larger industrial
customers and strikes the right balance of support and
maintaining jobs without unduly burdening other ratepayers,"
PUCO chairman Todd A. Snitchler said in a statement Oct. 2.
respond to requests for comment.
Ormet had requested an
average fixed rate of $45.89 per MWh for 2013 and permission to
break its current contract with Columbus, Ohio-based utility
American Electric Power Co. (AEP) effective Jan. 1, 2014, so
that it could shop for power on the retail market, PUCO
PUCO denied that
request and ordered Ormet to honor its amended agreement with
AEP through Dec. 31, 2018. In addition, PUCO ordered Ormet to
maintain 650 full-time employees at Hannibal throughout that
Ormet has said it
needs a competitive electricity rate not only to survive but
also to give the company time to build its own
natural-gas-fired power plant, which it hopes to have operating
by 2015 (
amm.com, July 16). PUCO said Ormet could revisit
its arrangement with AEP if the plant is built, but cast doubt
about the project.
"The project is
already at risk and behind schedule, and ... many of the
details, such as the permitting and financing for the project,
remain to be decided," PUCO said in the order.
Even the relief
granted to Ormet appeared to be done so only grudgingly by some
commission officials. "I sign todays order not because of
any confidence in Ormets management, but because of the
potential devastating impact of the regions largest
employer closing," PUCO commissioner Steven Lesser said in the
statement. "I hope this order provides an opportunity for the
company to move out of bankruptcy and find a viable business
model that retains high levels of employment not dependent on