Century wants the rate to compensate the company for a decline in aluminum prices and for its cost of production other than electricity, Harris said. That includes maintenance and salaries, he said.
"This is where they get all of their costs of operations guaranteed to them. It's absurd," Harris said. "They want a blank check that any amount of money they spend running their business, we the ratepayers will guarantee [it's paid]," Harris said.
Appalachian Power also filed a petition Friday for clarification and reconsideration of the PSC's Oct. 4 order. Appalachian Power questioned Century's "exposure to the volatile and cyclical aluminum industry."
Appalachian Power said in its filing that, after reviewing Century's financial position, it "discloses legitimate causes for concern.
"It is reasonable to doubt that Century Aluminum Company, whose financial prospects -- and even survival -- depend on the [changes] of the aluminum market, could offset serious losses resulting from those very same [changes]," the utility company said in its filing.
Appalachian Power said a letter of credit is "essential to provide a meaningful guarantee that Century and its parent will have the financial wherewithal to discharge their responsibilities and thus 'assure payment of potential revenue shortfalls.'"
Harris said Appalachian Power thinks Century's parent company is extremely risky, too. In its filing, Appalachian Power noted the parent company's weak bonds and its "riskier general credit outlook.
"They're bringing this to the commission's attention. They don't want just a contract with Century, they want this letter of credit because they're afraid Century won't be able to stand behind the contract and that Century itself will be bankrupt," Harris said.
The PSC's Consumer Advocate Division and the West Virginia Energy Users Group jointly filed a motion for clarification Friday regarding the special electric-rate case.
Among the numerous points made by the CAD and WVEUG, both entities "believe strongly that there should be no reduction in [aluminum] rates until after ratepayers receive a payback of the annual $20 million fixed cost credit."
The Ravenswood plant closed in 2009. Century officials said that, to reopen the plant, the company would need a special rate for electricity based on the changing price of aluminum. The CAD had argued against Century's proposal, saying that other Appalachian Power customers would see an increase in their bills.
"They're just tone deaf with what is realistic," Harris said. "Century is a realistic risk for the state and other customers."
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.