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BPA Decision on Smelter Contracts
Expected this Month

by Erik Olson
The Daily News, January 5, 2009

(Chris Peterson photo) The CFAC plant, shown here Monday, is expected to shut down entirely by February. A recent court ruling didn't help the company's finances by any means. By the end of January, the Bonneville Power Administration will decide on long-term power contracts for two Northwest aluminum smelters, said Scott Simms, a spokesman for the federal agency.

The contracts could raise power costs for Cowlitz County industries.

Alcoa's Intalco Works plant in Ferndale could receive rate breaks as high as 40 percent for 17 years beginning in 2012 when the current power-sales contract expires.

The BPA also is reworking a second contract with the Montana-based Columbia Falls Aluminum Co.

Unlike other industrial customers, smelters buy power directly from the BPA, which means changes in their rates have a potentially bigger impact on other industries. Weyerhaeuser Co., Cowlitz County's largest industrial customer, estimates it could see a jump of $42 million in power costs under the proposed agreement over the life of the contract.

The BPA closed its public comment period on the proposal Dec. 22. The agency is in the middle of revising its current power sales contracts with the smelters because of a recent court decision, Simms said.

Related Pages:
Result of BPA Suit: $17 Million Loss to CFAC by Chris Peterson, Hungry Horse News, 12/31/8
5 Questions: Wind at Back, BPA Chief Looks Ahead by Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian, 12/7/8

Erik Olson
BPA Decision on Smelter Contracts Expected this Month
The Daily News, January 5, 2009

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