Felman Production to restart idled New Haven, W.Va., plant following new power rate agreement

Felman Production is restarting its idled plant in Mason County following an agreement with Appalachian Power on a special electricity rate for the facility.

Operations will resume immediately and two of the silicomanganese plant's three furnaces will resume full production by the end of July, Felman said in a news release.

Felman had idled the plant that makes the material used in steel production and laid off more than 140 workers in 2013 because of poor market conditions. The company did not say how many workers will be recalled.

"I am very pleased that we have been able to successfully restart operations. Our special rate provides us with the necessary flexibility to continue operating during periods of weak commodity prices, while ensuring that we pay more than 100 percent of variable costs over the life of the contract," Felman Chief Executive Officer Mordechai "Motti" Korf said in Tuesday's news release.

The West Virginia Public Service Commission had authorized a special rate plan for the plant in April.

The plan will enable Felman to buy electricity from Appalachian at as much as $9 million per year off its full rate. The discounted rate will be calculated each month based on the costs of raw material used in production and commodity prices.

Felman and Appalachian Power filed a revised electricity contract with the PSC on Tuesday that implements the plan.

Felman had said earlier that the plant had not been profitable since at least 2010 and would not reopen unless it received the special rate.

Members of United Steelworkers Local 5171 approved modifications to their contract with Felman in April. Details of the changes were not released.

Felman, a subsidiary of Miami-based Georgian American Alloys Inc., bought the facility from Highlanders Alloys for $20 million in 2006.