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Owners of idled Warren steel plant say customers are waiting in line

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Operators of an idled Warren steel plant hope to be back up and running again on August first.

Lawyers for Warren Steel Holdings made a pitch to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio on Thursday, asking for lower electricity rates.

The plant and it's 200 workers have been idle since March 25th. Owners of the plant cited a number of reasons for the shut down, but say the cost of electrical power was a major factor.

Company lawyers told the PUCO that they have three customers ready and willing to place orders, if the facility can be reopened in a timely manner.

Warren Steel operators say they need to have the price they pay for electricity reduced by one-third in order to make the business profitable.

In documents filed with the PUCO, the company said that the rate it was paying for electricity was much higher than that of its predecessor, CSC Steel or any of it's competitors.

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

According to a transcript of the hearing held in Columbus, Warren Steel representatives say if they can restart the plant, they would do so with the equivalant of 309 full-time jobs.

First Energy had representatives at the hearing, and made no objection to the request for a lower rate.

There's no word on when the PUCO will issue a ruling. Since Warren Steel Holdings has asked the commission to make an expidited decision, it could come this month.

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