Charleston-area plant hints it may leave

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - One of the Charleston-area's largest employers may leave if it can't get a competitive electric rate from state-owned utility Santee Cooper.

According to media reports, Alcoa is renegotiating its contract with the utility. Alcoa has an aluminum smelting plant in Berkeley County that employs 640 people.

Alcoa plant manager Mike Rousseau says he hopes an agreement can be reached. He says power is a big component of aluminum costs, and it's hard to pass on price increases in a worldwide market.

But Santee Cooper spokeswoman Laura Varn says rising costs are also affecting the utility.

Gov. Nikki Haley vows the state isn't going to lose Alcoa. She says Santee Cooper has to prioritize and cut, and Alcoa has to realize the state can't give it everything it wants.

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