Century Aluminum power rate negotiations resume in Kentucky - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Century Aluminum power rate negotiations resume in Kentucky

Posted: Updated:
  • BusinessBusinessMore>>

  • Union workers at Frontier OK 3-year contract

    Union workers at Frontier OK 3-year contract

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:17 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:17:18 GMT
    The new contract will expire in August 2017. It covers about 1,500 employees in 42 West Virginia counties.
    The new contract will expire in August 2017. It covers about 1,500 employees in 42 West Virginia counties.
  • Shale activity spurs WesBanco growth

    Shale activity spurs WesBanco growth

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:00 AM EDT2014-09-01 14:00:29 GMT
    Managing growth has been a problem for some companies in the shale gas region of West Virginia, leading WesBanco to provide services to help them.
    Managing growth has been a problem for some companies in the shale gas region of West Virginia, leading WesBanco to provide services to help them.
  • WV workforce lacks oil and gas expertise — for now

    WV workforce lacks oil and gas expertise — for now

    Sunday, August 31 2014 5:00 PM EDT2014-08-31 21:00:19 GMT
    Despite the relatively high amount of natural gas production in West Virginia, less than 3 percent of employees in some of the major occupations that make up the sector's workforce live in the Mountain State.
    Despite the relatively high amount of natural gas production in West Virginia, less than 3 percent of employees in some of the major occupations that make up the sector's workforce live in the Mountain State.

Century Aluminum is again trying to negotiate an agreeable electricity rate in Kentucky, according to a March 28 report from Reuters.

The Kentucky General Assembly worked on two bills that would have given aluminum smelters the ability to get power on the open market – measures the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers and Kentucky Resource Council all said they did not support.

Both bills died when Kentucky's legislature adjourned March 26.

Big Rivers Electric Corp. Director of Communications and Community Relations Marty Littrel told Reuters the negotiations with Century started again this week.

Century's Hawesville smelter employs 800 people, and the company provided the necessary 12-month notice in August that it would terminate its power contract with Big Rivers and close the plant unless it could find cheaper power. Big Rivers supplies power to three electric cooperatives that serve more than 112,000 customers in more than 20 western Kentucky counties.

During Century's Feb. 21 quarterly earnings report, CEO Mike Bless said the company was "moving to take advantage of the transformation occurring in the U.S. electric power markets and believe the domestic primary aluminum industry should have a bright future in this environment."

Century also has struggled with settling on an agreeable power rate to reopen its Ravenswood smelter in West Virginia, which closed in 2009 and put about 650 people out of work.

Bless said during the Feb. 21 earnings call that Century was "working hard in Kentucky."

"With the appropriate market-based power arrangement, we are confident we will be able to operate and invest in the plant for years to come."

Chad Harpole, director of government affairs for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said in a March 29 email the chamber was encouraged to hear that Big Rivers and Century returned to the negotiation table.

"We sincerely hope the two parties can work out a solution to keep Kentucky positioned as the nation's largest provider of aluminum," Harpole said.