WASHINGTON, DC — As the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) begins a hearing today on the price that the Ormet Corporation pays for electricity, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged PUCO to work towards keeping the company’s plant in Hannibal from closing. Rising electricity costs and the decreasing price of aluminum threatens the long term sustainability of the plant and the approximately 1,000 local jobs it supports.
“With the livelihood of approximately 1,000 local workers at stake, I urge the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to do everything in its power to help keep the Ormet plant open,” Brown said. “Rising electricity costs are crippling the plant’s competitiveness. Its closure would cause irreparable harm to Hannibal and its surrounding communities, and our country’s ability to produce aluminum. I offer whatever assistance I can in order to help save the plant and the jobs and workers it supports.”
In a notice filed under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) law, Ormet indicated its plan to indefinitely curtail its operations. As the third largest smelter plant in the United States, its closure would have a devastating effect on the city of Hannibal, Monroe County, and the country’s aluminum production capability. Ormet has therefore requested PUCO’s aid and the ability to buy electricity at market instead of increased rates.
Brown’s letter can be read in its entirety below:
August 27, 2013
Chairman Todd Snitchler
Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)
180 East Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Dear Chairman Snitchler:
I am writing to you regarding the Ormet plant in Hannibal, Ohio where approximately 1,000 workers are employed. Recently, my office has been contacted by numerous Ohioans concerned about the possible loss of these jobs.
It is my understanding that Ormet is requesting assistance from the PUCO in an effort to maintain competitiveness, save the plant in Hannibal, and keep the workers employed. I strongly support these workers and their efforts to save the plant.
Ormet has stated that increasing electricity costs along with decreasing aluminum prices have forced the company to consider closing the plant permanently. Such an action would adversely affect the lives of many Ohio workers and harm the neighboring communities. As the third largest aluminum smelter in the United States, a closure could significantly impact our country’s aluminum production capability. It is my understanding that Ormet recently filed a notice under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, indicating its intention to indefinitely curtail its operations.
The company is asking to buy electricity at market rates, instead of the increased rate that has been imposed. I request that you please provide me with your comments on this matter and any suggestions you may have to help these constituents. I am also interested in any precedent that may exist where the PUCO or other public utility commissions have helped resolve similar situations that have threatened the competitiveness of domestic businesses and the livelihoods of American workers.
Due to the serious consequences at stake, your immediate attention to this matter is greatly appreciated. Your response should be directed to my Cleveland Office at 1301 East 9th St., Suite 1710, Cleveland, OH 44114. I look forward to working with you to save Ohio jobs.
United States Senator