MONROE COUNTY, Ohio -- The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is expected to decide Wednesday whether a Monroe County-based aluminum producer will get a break on electricity rates, which company leaders say they need to keep operating.
As many as 1,000 jobs hang in the balance, as the Ormet Corporation has already reduced operations to two of its six potlines to reduce power costs in order to keep running. Ormet wants to generate its own electricity by late 2015 via a planned natural gas power center, but CEO Mike Tanchuk said the company needs reduced power rate until then.
In February, Ormet filed for bankruptcy in U.S. District Court. The company later announced a planned $221 million sale to Minnesota-based Wayzata, but emphasized the transaction was contingent on settling the rate dispute with American Electric Power.
Officials with AEP and the Ohio Consumers' Counsel said granting Ormet additional power discounts could result in higher rates for about 1.4 million customers across the Buckeye State, many of whom live hundreds of miles away from the Hannibal facility.
The PUCO meeting is set for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the commission office in Columbus. Commission spokesman Jason Gilham said members worked to expedite the process so that it can be on the agenda this week.