Columbia Falls Aluminum Ceases Operations

By Beacon Staff

COLUMBIA FALLS – Columbia Falls Aluminum has ceased operations after failing to reach an agreement on electricity with the Bonneville Power Administration despite months of negotiations — leaving 88 employees without a job.

The company had for years been able to buy discount electricity from the power administration, a quasi-governmental outfit that for decades sold at-cost electricity to big industrial customers. But critics successfully argued that the arrangement came at the expense of other rate payers, and in December a court ordered Bonneville to end its deal with the aluminum company.

CFAC spokesman Haley Beaudry said Bonneville might be drafting a short-term agreement that would be open to public comment, but he didn’t know what such an agreement would include.

“If there’s any way to save these jobs, it’s worthwhile,” he said.

“I wish we had been able to come to a solution before this.”

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