Bills have been filed in Frankfort in an effort to keep two western Kentucky aluminum smelter plants open and save more than 1,000 jobs, but a regional utility is warning that the effort could result in higher electric rates for rural customers.
Media reported that Owensboro lawmakers Sen. Joe Bowen and Rep. Tommy Thompson filed bills that would allow Century Aluminum in Hawesville and Rio Tinto Alcan in Sebree to purchase electricity differently.
Henderson-based Big Rivers Electric Corp. says the bills, if passed as written, could lead to drastically higher electric rates for 112,000 rural customers in 22 counties.
Kenergy Corp., which delivers power from Big Rivers to the smelters, has been trying to negotiate a deal with Century and Alcan and will propose amendments to the bills.
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