Matheney also said, "Kentucky is a state with competitive electricity, which West Virginia is not. They are making a special arrangement in Kentucky, where [electricity costs] can go up and down with the market price."
In recent filings with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, Century Aluminum reported improved economic conditions. During the first quarter of 2013, Century reported making a profit of $8.3 million, compared to a $4.4 million loss suffered during the first quarter of 2012.
On Monday, Century Aluminum of Kentucky, a Century Aluminum subsidiary, also announced they reached a tentative agreement with Kenergy Corp. and Big Rivers Electric Corp., two electric power companies, to provide "market-priced power to the Hawesville smelter."
"Under the arrangement, the electric cooperatives would purchase power on the open market and pass it through to Century at the market price plus additional costs incurred by them," Century stated in its news release.
That release also quoted Bless as saying, "Gaining access to competitive energy is crucial for the continued viability of these plants, and we hope that the tentative agreement we have reached for Hawesville will be the first step towards obtaining market priced power."
Karen Gorrell, whose husband worked at Century's Ravenswood plant for 33 years, has been leading the retirees' movement to win back pension benefits taken away after the company shut the plant down in 2009.
"I knew they were seriously looking at the Sebree plant," Gorrell said on Monday. "I am not shocked they bought it. They were trying to get the same power arrangement in Kentucky that they want in West Virginia. I don't know what that means.
"Century says they are still committed to keep the plant here and are negotiating a deal with APCO. I hope they are serious about restarting the plant here in Ravenswood.
"The agreement they got in October gives them $40 million a year in tax credits," Gorell said. "But my understanding is that Century wants to buy power on the open market, where it can be much cheaper. They are negotiating with APCO right now."
Mike Dildine, Century's media spokesman in the company's main offices in Monterey, did not return a telephone call on Monday.
Century also operates aluminum smelting plants in Mount Holly, S.C., as well as in Grundartangi and Helguvik in Iceland.
More information is available on Century's website at www.centuryaluminum.com.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5614.