Thu., 11:15 pm: Idled Champion mill wants electric rate break

COMING FRIDAY: Warren Steel Holdings in Champion, idle since March, now is saying it needs a break in utility rates to reopen, or it faces long-term shutdown, displacing about 180 employees plus more than 60 full-time on-site contractors.

The company, which operates in part of the former Copperweld Steel Mill on Mahoning Avenue, last week filed a request with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio saying the plant is paying electricity rates much higher than rates paid by its competitors, including those with electric service from fully regulated suppliers in other states.

According to the PUCO filing, the company says its electric costs stood in excess of $75 per megawatt hour, or MWh, while competitors are paying less than $50 MWh.

Warren Steel Holdings is requesting a six-year rate reduction beginning at $50 MWh for the first year with fixed-rate percentage increases over the course of the term, all below Ohio Edison’s “non-shopping price.”

If the utility rate reduction is granted, the company says it has compiled a detailed restart plan that includes “increases in capital expenditures and employment levels.”

Read more in the Friday Tribune Chronicle.