Ormet closing Hannibal plant

HANNIBAL, Ohio – The partial rate reduction granted to Ormet Corp. by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio apparently is not enough to keep the aluminum producer in business, a union official confirmed this afternoon.

Pete Gray, chairman of the United Steelwokers Grievance Committee at Ormet, said the company will shut down the remaining two potlines after the PUCO ordered a rate of $50 per megawatt-hour, as opposed to the $45.89 the company had been seeking. The shutdown begins today and will continue through next week, Gray said.

That will leave about 750 hourly workers without a job, Gray said, along with those that already have been laid off. The company had employed about 1,000 workers earlier this year.

Company officials with Ormet have yet to comment on the rate reduction and indicated word about the plant’s future could be formally released later this afternoon. Wayzata, a Minnesota firm, had been looking to purchase Ormet if the power agreement could be reached.

Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, released a statement.

“I am deeply disappointed to hear the news from Ormet CEO, Mike Tanchuk, that Ormet would be forced to shutter operations. I’m disappointed that a short-term deal couldn’t be reached with the State of Ohio to allow Ormet to continue operations. Ormet has a strong, viable plan to produce its own energy from the natural gas production that we are seeing in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio – if only they had the support to get to that point.

Ormet is the largest private employer in Monroe County, providing jobs to hundreds of hardworking men and women. Since being elected to office, I’ve been working tirelessly to impress upon those in Columbus just how important Ormet’s operation is to Eastern and Southeastern Ohio. I have been in touch with the Governor’s office to express my support for finding a solution that is a win-win for both the workers at Ormet and Ohio consumers. “