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PSC denies alternatives for Century Aluminum electric-rate case

By Megan Workman

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The state Public Service Commission denied both alternatives that Century Aluminum had offered last month in the special electric-rate case because the plans still put the Jackson County company's risks onto Appalachia Power Co.'s customers, the PSC said Friday.

The PSC said in its order that one of the alternatives -- an "Immediate Restart Modification," which Century proposed would allow the Ravenswood plant to open sometime in 2013 -- is "fatally flawed because it imposes an unreasonable burden on other ratepayers."

The second alternative -- a "Future Restart Modification," which Century said last month would allow the plant to open "sometime in the future when [aluminum] prices materially increase" -- is "unacceptable because it fails to account for changes in electric rates," the PSC said in its order.

The "Future Restart Modification," the order states, "potentially deprives the special rate mechanism of funds to offset periods of low aluminum market prices."

The PSC said that the Oct. 4 Commission order remains "in full force and effect." In that order, the PSC rejected parts of Century's proposal but said the Ravenswood company could have a special rate for electricity, but not at the expense of other Appalachian Power customers.

Century Aluminum officials said Friday that they are still reviewing the PSC's order.

"We will be prepared to discuss the PSC's decision and how it impacts our restart efforts once we have a more thorough understanding of that order," Century Aluminum officials said in a statement.

Reach Megan Workman at megan.workman@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.


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