"If Felman shuts down, Appalachian Power will still have to collect the same $9.5 million a year in fixed costs that Felman pays currently," he said. "This would be accomplished by spreading the same amount of total fixed costs over the remaining, smaller customer base.
"The bottom line, (under the rate plan) other customers are never worse off than they would be if Felman shut down," Nuss said.
He said that was completely different than the Century proposal last year.
Century's plan required ratepayers to continue absorbing about $17.3 million a year in fixed costs that were pushed onto the rate base when the company's plant shut down in 2009. Consumers would then pick up an additional portion of the plant's variable costs, depending on where the price of aluminum traded.
The Century plan also allowed that company to benefit from about $20 million in annual tax credits that would have lowered its power bill even further. Felman is not asking that those tax credits be used to help reduce its power bill.
Century's plan was also criticized because it had no cap on how low the company's power rate could fall. The company's plan also guaranteed it would reap a guaranteed profit margin on all of the aluminum it would produce.
Analyst Henry Fayne, a Georgian American Alloys consultant who also worked on the Century plan, said the Felman plan has a definite floor on its potential discounts — one that doesn't guarantee a profit.
"Once that $9.5 million is used up, that's it," Fayne said. "And if things are worse, Felman suffers."
Felman purchased the New Haven plant out of bankruptcy from Highlander Alloys in 2006.
It hasn't turned a profit since due in part to inefficient equipment at the 61-year-old facility. Since purchasing the plant, Felman has invested more than $50 million in equipment upgrades.
Nuss said the equipment at the facility is now operating at its ideal capacity. Low prices in the silicomanganese market and the plant's power costs are the only things keeping the plant from being profitable today.
Nuss and Fayne believe prices will rebound within the next year. Now they just need a favorable power rate.
"Felman production can participate in this business profitably," Nuss said. "It comes down to being an efficient producer with the right cost structure."
Last week, an Appalachian Power representative said the company is still reviewing Felman's proposal and has yet to take a position on the plan.
The state Consumer Advocate Division on Friday filed a petition to intervene in the case.
Deputy Consumer Advocate Jacqueline Lake Roberts said in the petition that the Felman plan, if approved, "could have an adverse effect on residential consumers."
No other parties had intervened in the case as of Friday afternoon.
The commission has yet to schedule a timetable for the case to be heard. Felman has requested commissioners issue a ruling by the end of the year.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.