24 Apr 2015

Smelter calls for cheaper power

1:16 pm on 24 April 2015

Management at Bluff's Tiwai Point aluminium smelter in Southland have made a renewed plea for cheaper electricity.

Tiwai Point smelter

Tiwai Point smelter Photo: Wiki Commons

They said despite reversing two years of losses, the plant was still struggling.

The smelter was bailed out two years ago with a $30 million government handout and an undisclosed cut in the price it pays Meridian Energy for its electricity.

But it also won the right to shut down in 2017 as long as it reveals this fact this July.

The countdown to that date is filling the electricity industry with anxiety, and the latest smelter announcement will fuel that worry.

The company said even though it made a profit last year of $74 million, adjusted downwards to $56 million after special items, it was still struggling, and said it paid one of the highest power prices of any smelter in the world outside China.

It added its transmission costs were 10 times what they were with some competitors.

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