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Santee Cooper statement regarding Century announcement of intent to close Mt. Holly plant



10/22/2015


MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – Santee Cooper has learned that Century Aluminum has announced plans to close its Mt. Holly plant. This is sad news. Century and prior owner Alcoa have operated the Mt. Holly plant as a leading corporate citizen in Berkeley County. They have provided jobs, civic leadership and significant community support to the Lowcountry.

Ultimately Century’s decision is rooted in a longstanding, depressed aluminum market, with aluminum prices today trading at about half their pre-recession levels. Century’s leadership in Chicago has already decided this summer to permanently close a plant in West Virginia and partially shut down a plant in Kentucky, and weak aluminum prices were cited in both announcements.

This is an aluminum industry issue. Aluminum smelting is energy-intensive, and many U.S. smelters have closed or moved overseas. When Mt. Holly was built, there were 30 smelters in the U.S. There are just seven left today.

Santee Cooper offers very competitive industrial power costs – we are the lowest in the state and we would have to increase industrial costs 29 percent to reach the national average.

Santee Cooper has offered Century everything that we could fairly offer to help them keep the plant operating, but in the end Century’s leadership consistently required a deal that would unfairly increase costs to our other customers. Santee Cooper has a responsibility to provide reliable, affordable electricity to all of our customers. We are a statewide power utility, providing electricity to end users in all 46 counties, including 27 industrial customers with more than 7,000 employees across the state.

Santee Cooper will continue to be available to discuss terms that can keep Mt. Holly operating and not increase costs to our other customers.

Santee Cooper is South Carolina's largest power provider, the largest Green Power generator and the ultimate source of electricity for 2 million people across the state. Through its low-cost, reliable and environmentally responsible electricity and water services, and through innovative partnerships and initiatives that attract and retain industry and jobs, Santee Cooper powers South Carolina. To learn more, visit www.santeecooper.com