Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Greitens' Bootheel Jobs Push Could Cost Ameren Customers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Greitens' Bootheel Jobs Push Could Cost Ameren Customers

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * Customers of Ameren Missouri could see an increase of $4.75 per month in their electric bills beginning in three years if lawmakers approve a stripped-down plan designed to lure two factories to Missouri's impoverished Bootheel region.

According to an analysis by the state's Public Service Commission, the cost of offering lower electricity rates to reopen a shuttered aluminum smelter and a new steel mill in New Madrid County would be an estimated $57 per year within three years depending on the rate of inflation.

At the same time, PSC staff director Natelle Dietrich told members of a Senate panel that there would be virtually no increase if inflation is low.

The legislation zoomed through the House Wednesday after a contentious piece of the original proposal was removed to assuage lawmakers such as Sens. Gary Romine of Farmington and Doug Libla of Poplar Bluff.

The latest estimates were released just minutes before the Senate Utilities Committee endorsed the proposal Thursday that would generate an estimated 500 jobs at two companies an aluminum smelter owned by a Switzerland-based firm and a steel mill owned by a company in India.

The latter company's identity had been kept a secret until Thursday when Post-Dispatch columnist Tony Messenger confirmed that Sumangala Steel, based in Chennai, India, is looking at three sites across the nation, including one in New Madrid.

"Our consultants are in an advanced stage of short listing various potential sites ... South East Missouri is one of them," company owner Rajendran Sabanayagam noted in an email to Messenger.

The company lists clients including Hyundai and BorgWarner.

If the electric rate deal is approved, supporters of the plan say Sumangala will take up to 18 months to build the $80 million facility. It will employ an estimated 220 people. …

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