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Nixon backs Noranda rate redesign

  

New Madrid, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon issued a statement today supporting the Office of Public Counsel’s compromise proposal for Noranda Aluminum’s new rate relief case.

“The announcement today by Noranda to reduce its workforce substantially and put $75 million in capital projects on hold is unfortunate for the region and for our state,” Nixon said in a statement.”The job losses announced today are particularly troubling because the Office of Public Counsel had proposed a workable path forward, supported by consumer advocates, that would have protected ratepayers and avoided this unfortunate outcome.”

Noranda has sought a rate relief case from Ameren Missouri for some time, saying that the electric rates they are currently paying will force them out of business. The OPC filed the compromise stipulation — which every consumer group involved supported — after Noranda’s original rate relief request was denied by the PSC.

Nixon’s support of the compromise agreement comes just hours after Noranda officials announced they would begin layoffs as a result of the PSC’s rejection of a lower electric rate. Noranda officials announced earlier today they would continue fighting for an equitable electric rate in the state of Missouri and that they were formally requesting the PSC to reconsider the OPC’s stipulation agreement.

Nixon appoints and the state senate confirms members of the PSC. It is unclear at this time whether or not Nixon’s support of the OPC’s compromise will sway the PSC’s decision. The PSC declined to comment “since it is still an active case,” saying “the parties of the case can file applications for rehearing until September 18.”