The Missouri Public Service Commission has denied a request by Noranda for a special electric rate, marking a victory for Ameren Missouri but leaving open the possibility of a compromise for Noranda.
Noranda, a Tennessee-based aluminum company with a large smelter located near New Madrid, is Ameren’s largest customer. The company sought a rate reduction of about 25 percent, which would have been passed on to other Ameren customers. The break would have helped Noranda avoid the possibility of having to close the 900-employee smelter, the company said.
The PSC emphasized the importance of the smelter to the state’s economically downtrodden southeastern corner but said it wasn’t convinced Noranda will face liquidity issues if rates aren’t cut.
Still, hope of some rate relief remains for Noranda: The Missouri Office of Public Counsel has proposed a compromise, supported by Noranda, that offered a smaller rate reduction than the company had originally requested.