RAVENSWOOD - A request to reconsider an earlier decision rejecting a special rate structure for Century Aluminum was denied Friday by the West Virginia Public Service Commission.
Century was seeking a special rate based on the price of aluminum and made a proprosal earlier this year, which was denied by the commission because it put too much risk upon consumers.
The special rate from Appalachian Power is part of the plan for the company to restart the Ravenswood smelter that was closed in 2009. About 650 employees were affected.
The company issued a statement Friday afternoon, reiterating the company's desire to refire the shuttered plant.
"Century received notice of the Public Service Commission's final decision on its request for a special rate and we currently are reviewing the order," the company stated. "We will be prepared to discuss the PSC's decision and how it impacts our restart efforts once we have a more thorough understanding of the order.
"In the meantime, we would like to thank the PSC for its hard work in reviewing our request, and we remain steadfastly committed to restarting the plant."
The commission's rate plan approved in October shifted the risks from customers to the company.
The price of aluminum would determine the rates. Overpayments of up to $200 million after a 10-year period would be used for rate reductions for other customers and over payments above $200 million would be split 75 percent to the company and 25 percent to reduce power rates.
In Friday's order, the commission said it did not adopt Century's "Immediate Restart Modification," which it determined to be fatally flawed because it would impose an unreasonable burden on ratepayers. The commission also rejected the proposed "Future Restart Modification" for several reasons including its failure to account for changes in electric rates and its inability to provide funds to offset periods of low utility rate payments during low aluminum market prices.
The commission, however, stressed in the order that Century could still reopen their smelter plant in Ravenswood.
If Century determines that it cannot reopen the plant with the special rate mechanism established in the Oct. 4 Order, it has the option to pursue discussions with the other parties in an attempt to reach an agreement for a more acceptable special rate mechanism, the commission said. If those discussions fail, Century has the option to file another complaint case with the commission and present its new proposal, the commission said.
Applachian Power also filed a request to reconsider or clarify portions of the Oct. 4 Order that primarily addressed the need for additional security to guarantee any amount owed by Century under the special rate mechanism. In Friday's order, the commission denied that request, stating it is unnecessary to address the elements of the reconsideration at this time because the Oct. 4 order contemplated that Century and Appalachian Power would negotiate mutually agreeable terms of guarantees that would protect both APCo and its ratepayers.