COLUMBUS- State regulators are allowing a large Ohio aluminum manufacturer to defer electric bill payments for the remainder of the year.
Ormet Corp., located near Hannibal in eastern Ohio, has benefited from a unique electric-rate subsidy with American Electric Power that has reduced its costs by more than $150 million since 2009.
That subsidy includes $54 million this year.
The Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday approved the company's proposal to defer this year's remaining payments until 2014 and 2015.
The PUCO says it approved the delay, agreed to by AEP, to provide continuity to the employees and businesses dependent on Ormet.
The commission also says any additional requests for help from Ormet should be accompanied by a business plan confirming its long-term ability to exist without support from ratepayers.
Ormet posted a $1.1 million net loss for the first three months of 2012, but company officials spent $1.9 million during this time to reline 22 pots at the Hannibal facility during that time. In the first three months of the year, workers shipped 67,981 metric tons of product, compared to 58,079 tons during the same time in 2011.