Santee Cooper’s board of directors rejected a deal proposed by Century Aluminum that the company says it needs to stop a scheduled closure of the plant next month. Officials at Santee Cooper said it would force them to raise rates for existing customers. That is something they are not willing to do.
After going into executive session during the teleconference meeting , upon return the board members at Santee Cooper unanimously rejected Century Aluminum’s proposal. Afterward a Century employee, Valerie Taylor, confronted the CEO of Santee Cooper, Lonnie Carter. “Why can you not reach an agreement that is fair to us as well as it is to you?”
Carter said Santee Cooper is now offering to extend the existing deal, which the organization says would save Century about $130 million over 3 and a half years. “I would encourage them to ask their executives to take the deal that Santee Cooper has put on the table.”
Carter mentioned another possibility in this case. “And there is certainly the opportunity for the legislature to step in,but that certainly would be up to them.” Other states have offered incentive money to keep industry in their state.
After the meeting, Century’s plant manager Dennis Gregory made it clear to Carter that he did not like the action Santee Cooper’s board took. ”
“We’re very disappointed. We’ve made similar offers in the past. They’ve all been rejected. I can’t speak for the Century board, but in the past the board has rejected similar offers.”
Taylor was very emotional as she said the stakes are high for her family, and the hundreds of other Century employees if a deal is not reached. “I am very much worried about my job. As I stated, I have five children, I am the breadwinner of my family. This company has allowed me to be the independent woman that I am today.”
If Century accepts this deal, it will last for three years. Century will still be able to get out of the deal with six months notice.