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Alcoa Fires Up Third Potline In Spring 1/13/2011
Alcoa’s Wenatchee Works smelter will fire up its third potline this spring, a time when electricity is at its cheapest and most plentiful. Electricity costs can amount to 30 to 40 percent of production costs at smelters. At Wenatchee Works, electricity is only 14 to 15 percent because the Chelan County PUD supplies most of the smelter’s power at cost or below-market rates. But Alcoa’s share of low-cost PUD power won’t be enough to run the third potline until July 2012, when its new contract with the utility takes full effect. Until then, it’ll be shopping for cheap power. Springtime is a great time to buy. Lower demand and peak production means more cheap, contracted PUD power is available for Alcoa.