Your Opinion: Noranda request would harm utility customers

Dear Editor:

We know that Noranda Aluminum has asked the Public Service Commission for an electric rate shift that would reduce rates for Noranda but would increase rates for the rest of us Ameren customers by $500 million over 10 years. In fact, last week, Walmart filed a motion to intervene in that PSC request because the rate shift would leave a large retailer like them with such an enormous rate increase. They want to prevent having to pass that cost on to their customers.

But as Noranda cries poor to the PSC as the reason they need this reduction, there are couple of key points they leave out. Recently, the Wall Street hedge fund that owns and controls Noranda sold 10 million shares of Noranda stock and not a penny of that sale went to help the struggling aluminum smelter.

For a company in such dire straights you’d think their largest investor would want to keep Noranda financially viable but it appears the plan is to simply take Noranda for all it’s worth.

In fact, the CEO of that same hedge fund that controls Noranda made $500 million last year raising his rank on the Forbes billionaires list from 299 to 240. Let’s call a spade a spade here.

Noranda is nothing more than a cash cow for this big hedge fund and we’re about to be a cash cow for Noranda if this rate shift goes through.

It’s good that Walmart is stepping in for their customers, but the rest of us ought to be speaking out for ourselves as well.

Stop the Noranda bailout. We have some of the lowest electric rates in the country. Lets keep it that way.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com