Today the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ruled today to allow Ormet to defer their electricity bills for August and September.
Matt Schilling, spokesman for the PUCO, informed the Chronicle of this today in a brief interview by phone.
Ormet's overall request, to acquire a lower rate for its electricity, is still pending. A hearing regarding this request is scheduled for Aug. 27.
This largest issue at hand deals with the fact that American Electric Power (AEP) could raise Ormet's bill to $62.83 per megawatt hour. In a 2009 power agreement with Ormet, the cost was $39.66 per megawatt hour. Dave McCall, United Steelworkers District 1 Director, said this lower rate is closer to the current market price. Unless Ormet is allowed to buy power off the grid at market rates, it will be forced to shutdown, says the company.
Tom Byers, the United Steelworkers Local 5724 president, said AEP's rate has increased 46 percent over a four-year period. "If the current power agreement is not changed by the PUCO, Ormet will shut down . . . A temporary reduced power rate would allow Ormet to construct a gas-fired power plant, providing on-site power generation."
A rally held this past Saturday brought approximately 300 people forth in support of preventing a shutdown at the Ohio Valley plant. For more details on this rally, check out the story on the front page of today's Wetzel Chronicle or online at www.wetzelchronicle.com/page/content.detail/id/513056/Ormet-Rally-Effect-Could-Be-Seen-Today--PUCO-Meeting.html?nav=5001