Alcoa May Cut Smelter Operation in Maryland
Alcoa (Pittsburgh, Pa.; http://www.alcoa.com) issued notices to more than 600 employees at its Eastalco aluminum smelter in Frederick, Md., that the plant will be curtailed if a new competitive power supply cannot be secured within the next two months. The company continues to work with government officials and others seeking ways to secure power for the 195,000 metric ton per year smelter. Eastalco has been operating under a power arrangement from Allegheny Power, but that contract is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2005. The current rates paid by Eastalco are approximately 40% higher than the global smelting average paid for electricity. Discussions with power providers in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland market area, which serves Eastalco, are suggesting retail market rates that would increase Eastalco's rates to more than three times the global average.