GOOSE CREEK (AP) — There is still no agreement to keep Century Aluminum’s smelter in Goose Creek operating with its 600 jobs, despite the pleas of workers.
The board of the state-owned utility Santee Cooper voted Monday to reject the company’s latest proposal, local media outlets report.
Century has been buying most of its power from an out-of-state provider with Santee Cooper providing the rest and transmitting the power to the plant.
Century wants to buy all its power from another provider and pay Santee Cooper for transmitting it.
About 30 employees listened in disbelief as Santee Cooper’s board voted against the plan to allow the company to find an energy source from somewhere else.
Thirteen-year Century Aluminum employee Valerie Taylor pleaded with Santee Cooper president Lonnie Carter to find another option.
“I am very much worried about my job,” Taylor said. “I have five children. I am the bread winner of my family.”
Santee Cooper has said it cannot agree to a rate that would increase costs for other industrial customers. The company has said without a new agreement, the smelter will close by the end of the year.
The plant extracts aluminum metal from aluminum oxide by using large amounts of electricity.