Anchor Glass Container closed its Aberdeen, NJ, manufacturing plant on January 15, after a failed effort to municipalize the township's electric system. Anchor also closed its Houston, TX, plant the same day. Walter J. Schaffer, the company's energy director, says energy costs were one of the reasons for the Aberdeen closing, which left most of the 326 workers unemployed. He also admits that the fight with Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) (see, "Anchor Glass vs. JCP&L," PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY, 2/1/96) did little to strengthen Anchor's economic position. Anchor's annual electric bill in Aberdeen was about $4.5 million.
"The key issue is the high cost of energy in Jersey Central territory," he says. "Not that they're a monopoly. Not that we're trying to abandon their system. . . . We wanted them to offer us customer choice. We wanted to bring competition to the marketplace."
The closing of Anchor's plant depletes JCP&L's load by 8 megawatts (Mw), Schaffer notes: "If that's JCP&L's goal, to skirt the issue and run a customer out of town, if that's a success to them, the remaining captive customers of JCP&L need to be asking some serious questions."
According to Glenn O. Steiger, JCP&L corporate affairs director, Anchor's problems at the Aberdeen plant ran deeper than energy costs (em they included the high costs of raw materials and labor.