Noranda helps fund critics of AmerenUE-backed bill

Saturday, April 4, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A Southeast Missouri aluminum smelter has donated nearly $80,000 to fight efforts by AmerenUE to change how customers are billed for construction of electric power plants.

State campaign finance records show Noranda Aluminum Inc. on Friday donated $78,570 to Missourians Against Higher Utility Rates. That committee is sponsoring ads critical of AmerenUE.

The St. Louis-based utility wants lawmakers to allow customers to be charged for the capital costs while building new power plants, instead of after completion. AmerenUE contends the change is needed for a potential second Missouri nuclear plant.

Noranda told senators in February that its New Madrid plant could pay $200 million more for electricity if rates are allowed to increase while a nuclear plant is built. Noranda is Ameren's largest retail customer.

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