Century Aluminum

"Milwaukee Makerspace Aluminum Pour" by Pete Prodoehl, Flickr Commons, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Workers at a Webster County smelting facility who feared losing their jobs at the end of the year have received some good news. 

Officials at the Century Aluminum plant in Sebree have announced that they won’t have to cut back production and lay off workers after all. 

Century Aluminum Laying Off 150 Workers

Nov 3, 2015
"Milwaukee Makerspace Aluminum Pour" by Pete Prodoehl, Flickr Commons, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Century Aluminum has announced a second layoff at its two Kentucky smelters.   

Century Aluminum spokesman Kenny Barkley said the latest cutback is at the company’s Henderson County facility.

"Milwaukee Makerspace Aluminum Pour" by Pete Prodoehl, Flickr Commons, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

  Century Aluminum plans to continue operations at its aluminum smelter in Hawesville, Ky., but the company will still idle 60 percent of its working capacity at the plant later this month, resulting in more than 300 layoffs.

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The Big Rivers Electric Corp. will be forced to raise rates again for its 113,000 customers, as a second western Kentucky aluminum smelter has reached an agreement to purchase its electricity on the free market.

Arnold Paul, via Wikimedia Commons

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved a rate increase for customers of Big Rivers Electric Corporation.

The utility sought the increase to absorb the loss of its biggest customer, an aluminum smelter.

The PSC authorized Big Rivers to seek an additional $54.2 million from customers. That is about $20 million less than requested.

centuryaluminum.com

The Public Service Commission approved agreements today that allow the Century Aluminum smelter in Hawesville to purchase electric power on the open market through Kenergy Coporation instead of power generated by Big Rivers Electric.

PSC Spokesman Andrew Melnykovych says Century’s electricity will still run through Big Rivers’ system, the corporation just won’t be providing electricity it generates.

“In essence what will happen is Big Rivers is going to go as Century’s agent, purchase the electricity on the open market, transmit it through its transmission system to Kenergy, which will then supply it to Century," he says. "Century in essence then pays market rates for that power.”

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The Kentucky Public Service Commission will conduct public hearings in Paducah, Henderson and Owensboro over a proposed rate hike for electric customers who could see their bills increase by nearly 20 percent.

The proposed hike comes as Big Rivers Electric attempts to raise a $74.5 million to fill a budget hole left by its biggest customer, Century Aluminum and pay debt obligations.

The possible 20 percent increase would account for an extra $24 per month for the average customer. Industrial customers would see nearly 17 percent rate increases.

Security Net (securitynet.org)

Big Rivers Electric’s decision to let Century Aluminum out of its contract in August, may mean significant electric rate increases throughout the region.

Big Rivers spokesperson Marty Littrel said the aluminum smelter will be able to buy electricity elsewhere on the open market. But since the smelter is Big Rivers’ biggest customer, Littrel said the power supplier has to raise rates about 20 percent.

“All we’re trying to do is cover our expenses here,” he said. “We’ll likely have to idle a plant because this is a huge revenue loss for us.”

centuryaluminum.com

The Century Aluminum smelter in Hawesville has notified employees that it plans to shut down operations Aug. 20 unless it can get lower electric rates.

The aluminum smelter has been in negotiations with its power supplier, Big Rivers Electric Corporation, for more than a year. Both parties say they are still trying to negotiate a deal before time runs out.

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With the Kentucky General Assembly adjourned for the year, a look into lobbying spending during the session shows major dollars are still used to influence issues.

During the first two months of this year's session, a total of $4.2 million was spent lobbying. That's a 10 percent increase over the last 30-day session in 2011, according to Legislative Ethics Commission.

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