Special rate authorized for Felman plant in W.Va.

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News,Business,West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia Public Service Commission on Thursday authorized a special electricity rate plan for an idled manufacturer in Mason County.

The plan would enable Felman Production to buy electricity from Appalachian Power at as much as $9 million per year off its full rate. The discounted rate would be calculated each month based on the costs of raw materials used in production and commodity prices.

Felman has said the plan would allow its silicomanganese plant in New Haven to operate when commodity markets are weak.

Felman idled the plant last year because of poor market conditions. The PSC order said Felman must first accept the rate then enter into a contract with Appalachian Power.

The PSC made the move under a 2012 law intended to help manufacturers whose plants consume large amounts of electricity in certain circumstances.

Felman is a subsidiary of Miami-based Georgian American Alloys Inc. Felman bought the facility from Highlanders Alloys for $20 million in 2006.

According to earlier testimony, Felman said it hasn't been profitable since at least 2010 and wouldn't reopen unless it received the special rate.

A spokesman for Felman didn't immediately comment on the PSC order Thursday.

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