Alcoa to Restart
WENATCHEE -- Alcoa Inc. will restart its Wenatchee Works aluminum smelter in December, three months earlier than anticipated, because of revenues from the sale of unused power, the company said Monday.
An agreement with the Chelan County Public Utility District gives the aluminum-maker a $13 million credit for power from the idle plant from October, November and December, plant manager Bob Wilt said.
The deal, an amendment to Alcoa's PUD power contract, is expected to be approved by PUD commissioners after a 10-day waiting period.
The plant has been closed for more than three years. During that time, 390 plant employees continued to receive paychecks from sales of Alcoa's 23 percent portion of electricity from the PUD's Rocky Reach and Rock Island dams.
The plant won't require all of its PUD power for aluminum production until several months after startup, Wilt said, making the power available for sale.
Alcoa terminated the earlier power agreement Oct. 1, the same day a new labor agreement was reached with unions. About 382 employees are now covered because of retirements and some workers taking other jobs, Wilt said.
The proposed amendment still requires Alcoa to use its PUD power exclusively at Wenatchee Works.
The deal also prohibits any employee layoffs during startup, and orders Alcoa to repay the $13 million if the company doesn't have one-and-a-half aluminum-making potlines operating by May 2005.
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