On Friday, Century Aluminum filed its petition to the WV PSC for reconsideration of the PSC’s overly generous plan to shift Century’s electric bill to other APCo customers. Century basically continued to ask for a handout. Here’s some of what WV Consumer Advocate Byron Harris told the Charleston Gazette’s Megan Workman in her story yesterday:
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.
APCo also filed to request the PSC provide clarification of some aspects of the PSC’s plan, particularly the section that requires APCo to carry what could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars in debt for Century, if aluminum prices remain low. APCo points out that the financial industry thinks both Century and its parent company are high credit risks. There is no reason for APCo, as a utility that serves WV consumers, to put itself in financial jeopardy to help a failing company.
So, that’s it. There really isn’t anything left to say. Century will not reopen.
WV politicians have failed again, because they allowed Century to claim that it needed others to pay for its electricity in order for the company to pay for health insurance for its retirees. That was never the case. Century has a contractual obligation to pay those costs, regardless of whether Century restarts the Ravenswood plant. WV politicians need to focus on that issue, and that issue alone.