In losing Century, Big Rivers was forced to hike rates for its remaining 112,000 utility customers by nearly 20 percent.
While the arguments are likely to continue until global aluminum prices recover, Forbes contributor William Pentland argued last week these situations could have been avoided.
"The tragedy of the Ormet closure is that it did not need to happen," Pentland said.
"Unlike cheap labor and lower taxes, there is no excuse for energy-induced industrial decline," he said. "If anything, America's abundant supply of natural gas should be driving a domestic resurgence of industrial activity."
Pentland said decades ago, America's electric power grid gave birth to the rust belt's industrial base. Now, an older, weaker and more expensive version of that grid is threatening to destroy it.
He said Ormet appeared to be on the cusp of finding a separate solution, but ran out of time to implement it.
"Ormet was in the early stages of building an onsite natural gas power plant, which would likely have alleviated the problems that led to its closure substantially," Pentland said.
"By replacing the electric grid with onsite power generation, cheap natural gas could have kept Ormet competitive and effectively eliminated the need for electric ratepayer subsidies burden it had placed on other ratepayers."
Contact business editor Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.