PUCO: AEP Could Try to Raise Rates For Customers If Ormet Shuts Down

HANNIBAL – Public Utilities Commission of Ohio spokesman Jason Gilham said American Electric Power could seek to increase other customers’ power rates if Ormet Corp. is closed.

On Friday, Gilham said AEP had the option to request such a rate “adjustment” in an effort to recoup losses it would suffer in the event Ormet’s Primary Aluminum Reduction Plant at Hannibal, which uses massive amounts of electricity to make aluminum, would go out of business.

AEP already aims to raise Ormet’s bills to $62.83 per megawatt hour – a level that Ormet officials say will force them to close. A 2009 agreement between Ormet and AEP set rates at $39.66 per megawatt hour. The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel has expressed concern about other AEP customers being forced to subsidize a reduced rate for Ormet.

Paul Prater, community affairs manager for AEP Ohio, said Friday it is “way too premature to discuss” whether AEP would seek to raise other customers’ rates if Ormet shuts down.

“There are a lot of people working on it,” he added.