Ormet shutdown affects AEP 2014 sales projections - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Ormet shutdown affects AEP 2014 sales projections

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The impending shutdown of an aluminum smelting operation in Ohio will have an impact on American Electric Power's electricity sales next year.

AEP President and CEO Nick Akin is scheduled to speak Nov. 12 at the 48th Annual Edison Electric Institute Financial Conference in Orlando, Fla. In preparation for Akin's speech, AEP posted its 2013 Fact Book to its website.

In its projections for 2014, AEP said it expects sales to industrial customers to be 2.3 percent less next year compared with this year. Excluding the impending shutdown of the Ormet Corp. smelting operation at Hannibal, Ohio, across the Ohio River from New Martinsville, WV, industrial sales will be up about 1.1 percent next year, according to the fact book.

Total AEP sales — industrial, commercial and residential — next year are projected to be six-tenths of a percent less than this year. Excluding the effect of Ormet, sales will be up six-tenths of a percent.

Ormet Corp. filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 25, citing low metal prices and what it calls "exceedingly high and uncontrollable power costs." Last month, the company issued WARN notices to 600 employees at Hannibal of the planned closure there.

Ormet had asked the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for a reduction in its power rates. The PUCO gave some relief, but Ormet said what PUCO allowed was not enough.

The situation is similar to that at Ravenswood, where Century Aluminum says it must have a rate reduction to restart its smelter, and in several other states where aluminum companies are requesting lower electric rates as a condition to keep their operations open.