August 23, 2014

Energy watchdog group claims Noranda Aluminum wants lower rates amid profitable growth

Noranda Aluminum alleges Ameren Missouri is overcharging consumers for electricity and gas. But one watchdog group says Noranda is just trying skirt the system to get a better deal than it deserves.

Noranda Aluminum runs a large smelting facility along the Mississippi River in New Madrid, Mo. (Noranda photo)

Noranda Aluminum, based in Franklin, Tenn., runs a large smelting facility along the Mississippi River in New Madrid, Mo. (Noranda photo)

Tennessee-based Noranda Aluminum runs a large smelting facility in Southeast Missouri … it’s the state’s largest energy consumer. Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future says Noranda wants a better deal than it is already getting though its profit margins speak for themselves.

“They issued a claim with the Missouri Public Service Commission alleging that they’re destitute and need a further slash to their electricity rates,” said Irl Scissors, executive director of Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future. But later “… They announced to their shareholders on Wall Street that they’re paying a dividend and had a decent year in 2013. So I’d say they’re definitely talking out of both sides of their mouth.”

Scissors says Noranda currently pays an average of 60 percent less for electricity than the average consumer.

 

“That significant reduction that Noranda is asking for,” Scissors said, “The money has to come from somewhere, and it will be on the backs of the rest of consumers,” whether it is from individuals or small businesses.

 

Scissors points to John Parker, vice president of communications at Noranda, as quoted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Without this rate change, we would probably have to look at layoffs of 150 to 200 more employees in the near term and ultimately the smelter would be subject to closure.”