Western Kentucky Smelter Manager Hopes to Avoid Plant Shutdown

Aug 24, 2012

Leaders of a western Kentucky aluminum smelter involved in a rate dispute with a regional utility say they still think a compromise is possible to avoid shutting down the plant. The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports that officials from Century Aluminum's Hawesville plant in Hancock County attended a town hall meeting Thursday night.

The company is seeking electric rate concessions from Big Rivers Electric Corp.

Plant Manager Dave Whitmore says that staying on the Big Rivers system is the No. 1 option.  He says Century and Big Rivers are no longer actively negotiating but are communicating.  Whitmore says market conditions are causing the plant to lose $1 million per week.

Earlier this week, Century gave Big Rivers a 12-month notice to terminate its power contract.  The plant employs about 700 people.