HANNIBAL, Ohio (AP) - A large Ohio aluminum manufacturer says it needs even deeper discounts from American Electric Power to avoid layoffs.
Ormet Corp., located near Hannibal in eastern Ohio, has benefited from a unique electric-rate subsidy that has reduced its costs by more than $150 million since 2009. It's paid for by all American Electric Power customers.
But The Columbus Dispatch reports that the largest employer in the region wants a bigger break from the power company or all 1,000 or so workers could lose their jobs.
The company says the plant is suffering because of low aluminum prices and a series of rate increases by the power company.
American Electric Power wouldn't address the situation with Ormet beyond a statement saying it would continue to support the company.
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In July, Ormet issued a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) notice, stating a planned shutdown of its Hannibal, Ohio reduction plant would begin in September.
While the plant is located in Monroe County, it has traditionally employed a lot of people from neighboring Washington County, including New Matamoras and Newport. Residents there say its planned closing would be another blow to the area's economy.
"People have families to support, and with the price of gas going up, and back down, I think it's really going to have an effect on people," says Raymond Jones, himself an unemployed resident.
The issues the company is quoted as saying lead to that possible shutdown are very similar to those faced by the aluminum plants in Ravenswood: the market price of aluminum and what it costs for electricity.
"I realize they're having a lot of problems, but things are going up everywhere," says Danny LeMasters, New Matamoras Resident. "You just have to figure out a way to deal with it."
LeMasters doesn't think the much-talked about oil and gas drilling boom will offset much, if any of those lost jobs.
Ormet says any layoffs would be gradual; possibly lasting to the end of the year. This community is simply hoping for some kind of a reprieve.