PDT Staff Writer
Scioto County Commissioner Tom Reiser says recent action involving several power companies, at least clear the way for their being able to now give their attention to the prospect of purchasing excess power from the New Steel International plant, being proposed for Franklin Furnace.
Reiser says the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s recent announcement allowing a possible rate increase for AEP Ohio and the completion of the merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy, allows those companies to devote their attention to possibly working a deal with New Steel, which would be one of the final steps needed to make the project become a reality.
“It looks more positive now that it has for a while,” Reiser said. “The PUCO has issued a new rate structure, which allows for a five percent increase. I don’t know over what period of time. But it’s just the fact that it has been approved now.”
Duke Energy was not able to be a player in the New Steel vision because it had spent its time working out the merger. Now, Reiser says that merger took place on July 1.
“They (New Steel) originally had an agreement with them (Duke Energy), but time has gone on and with the merger, no discussion could have taken place until the merger was complete,” Reiser said. “I think the attitude of John Schultes (New Steel International CEO) is positive right now.”
New Steel International is attempting to locate the steel processing plant in the Franklin Furnace area — a plant that not only processes steel, but produces electricity which can be sold to a utility. That is why the latest moves involving rate increase and the merger play into the situation.
Thanks to several $10,000 investments by local residents, a group of local businessmen say New Steel International can now begin the process of moving forward with the necessary Hatch Study that could lead to a new steel plant in Franklin Furnace. That group recently announced it has the $50,000 necessary to begin the study now.
A Hatch Study is an engineering study that is similar to an appraisal that is needed when someone purchases a house, or a business gets when they are in the process of garnering a loan. The original Hatch Study was done when the Russian company MMK had planned to construct the project. That company eventually pulled out because of differences between the U.S. government and the Putin administration in Russia.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org