House Committee Postpones Vote on Smelter Bill

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A legislative panel has postponed its vote on a bill that would allow two aluminum smelters in western Kentucky to purchase electricity on the open market.

That's because negotiations over rates are continuing between Century Aluminum and the local utility company, Big Rivers Electric Corporation. Century says Big Rivers' rates will force it to close its Hancock County plant, costing hundreds of jobs. Big Rivers says residential rates will rise from an average of $84 to $100 per month if Century buys elsewhere.

The bill would allow Century to purchase power on the open market instead of from Big Rivers, bypassing current law.

Democratic state Rep. Tommy Thompson of Owensboro sponsored the bill, which is before the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee.

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