Soaring natural gas and electricity prices are starting to hit US industry, and plants are being forced to shut down because of it, sending thousands of workers into unemployment.
At the second-largest aluminum mill in America, accounting for 20% of US supply, about 600 workers are now losing their jobs because the plant can’t afford an electricity tab that’s tripled in a matter of months.
Century Aluminum Co. says it’ll idle the Hawesville, Kentucky, mill for as long as a year, taking out the biggest of its three US sites.
A shutdown like this can take a month as workers carefully swirl the molten metal into storage so it doesn’t solidify in pipes and vessels and turn the entire facility into a useless brick.
Restarting takes another six to nine months. For this reason, owners don’t halt operations unless they’ve exhausted all other options.
At least two steel mills have also begun suspending some operations to cut energy costs, according to one industry executive, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.
In May, a group of factories across the US Midwest warned federal energy regulators that some were on the verge of closing for the summer or longer because of what they described as “unjust and unreasonable” electricity costs. They asked to be wholly absolved of some power fees—a request that, if granted, would be unprecedented.
By the beginning of June, natural gas prices had tripled what they were a year earlier, threatening households and businesses alike with some of the biggest utility bills they’ve ever seen.
This summer, electricity rates for industrial customers are set to hit their highest levels ever, based on US government forecasts. Because US plants and factories depend on both electricity and gas, this could very well be the moment the rug’s pulled out from under American industry.
HAL TURNER EDITORIAL OPINION
None of this had to be, and none of it HAS to be.
Absolutely every aspect of the rate increases is directly tied to what the United States federal government is doing over the Russia-Ukraine situation.
They have imposed strangling economic sanctions upon Russia, demanding Russia halt its Special Military Operation into Ukraine. These economic sanctions are then applied to all our allies and trade partners worldwide, who are, themselves, told by the US that THEY cannot trade with Russia.
This means that all the countries of the world who used to purchase natural gas and oil from Russia, are forced to find other sources or face being barred from US markets.
The only other sources for oil and natural gas are the countries that have traditionally supplied them: mostly in the Middle East.
Well, with so many new buyers trying to grab oil and gas from the Middle East, the prices have utterly skyrocketed. . . supply and demand.
As the cost of energy has risen, the cost of everything else had to rise as well. Now, those costs have gotten so out of hand, that entire industries are being forced to shut down, which puts people out of work.
ALL OF THIS is because the US federal government won't mind its own business regarding Ukraine.
If we mind our own business, everything goes back to cheap, the way it was.
All of this economic harm is happening because the US Democratic Party refuses to mind its own business, and is thus causing havoc in all our lives.
It is time to remove those people from power at all levels of state and federal government. If the people of the United States do not take action to remove this destructive government, our entire society and way of life will collapse.
You can either take action now, or wait until YOU have to choose between heating your house this winter, or feeding your family. THAT is the choice that's coming because of what Democrats have done.