Valley lawmakers lobby to lower the price of power for idled War - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Valley lawmakers lobby to lower the price of power for idled Warren steel plant

Updated:
COLUMBUS, Ohio -

Federal and state lawmakers are lending their support to the owners of a shutdown Warren steel plant who say they need a break on utility rates to resume operations and increase production.

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission will today hear a request from Warren Steel Holdings for a one-third reduction in what it pays First Energy for electricity.

When Warren Steel Holdings shut down operations on Mahoning Avenue NW in late March, the company said it was due to a number of factors, but primarily because of high energy costs.

The company says that the rate it was paying for electricity was much higher than that of its predecessor, CSC Steel or any of its competitors.

Senator Sherrod Brown and Congressman Tim Ryan have sent a letter to the PUCO asking for approval of the lower rate. The letter signed by both lawmakers says, "A viable Warren Steel Holdings will not only protect the existing local jobs, but has the potential to attract new strategic partnerships that could lead to future growth and expansion in Ohio."

Warren Holdings has said that competitive electric pricing would enable the plant to invest in upgrades and increase production to one-million tons a year.

State Representative Sean O’Brien and State Senator Capri Cafaro have also penned letters to be entered into the case record.

"The idling of this steel plant is having, and will continue to have, a large economic and fiscal impact on the region." wrote O'Brien who represents Trumbull County.

Warren Steel has a workforce of nearly 200 and an annual payroll of $15-million. The company said it needs a competitive electric rate in order to remain in business.

Senator Cafaro writes, "I fully believe that with a fair rate, they can produce even higher revenues than before and continue growing for the local and state economy."

Leila L. Vespoli. executive vice president, Markets, and chief legal officer of FirstEnergy Corporation is representing the utilities interests in the hearing.

There is no word on when the PUCO will make a decision on the request.

 

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