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      Missouri considers electric rate cut for Noranda Aluminum

      Ameren is opposing Noranda's request for lower rates.

      A dispute between Missouri's largest power company and its largest electric consumer is being heard by state regulators.

      An administrative judge for the Missouri Public Service Commission is to hear testimony Monday on a request by Noranda Aluminum to reduce the electric rates it's charged by Ameren Missouri.

      Noranda is seeking a rate reduction for its aluminum smelter in the southeast Missouri town of New Madrid. If it can't cut its electricity costs, Noranda says the smelter faces a "substantial likelihood" of closure.

      Ameren is questioning that assertion and opposing Noranda's request for lower rates.

      The staff of the Public Service Commission says Noranda's requested rate cut could lead to a cost increase of between $6.2 million and $15.5 million annually for other customers.