J-M Manufacturing Co. Inc. is closing a PVC pipe facility in Green Cove Springs, Fla., claiming electrical difficulties have cost the company more than $10 million during the past decade. The Livingston, N.J.-based pipe manufacturer announced its decision Feb. 3. The plant will close April 2, terminating all 100 jobs, personnel director Roger Toth said in a telephone interview. Officials are not sure where the plant's extrusion lines will be relocated, Toth said.
The facility has been in existence since J-M was formed in 1983 as a subsidiary of Formosa Plastics Corp. USA, he said.
For the past 10 years the plant has experienced frequent power outages and what the company said are unusually high electric bills — much higher than any of the company's other 13 manufacturing plants.
"We can't survive in that town because of the recurring power outages," Toth said.
When the power goes out for five seconds or more, the plant must shut down machinery.
"Four to five seconds, which might be insignificant to you and me, ruins materials, burns dies, and there are extra labor charges and overtime that goes along with that," Toth said.
He said J-M has tried to work with the city, which supplies its own power, but the results have been unsatisfactory.
"It has happened many times, in as much as we cannot handle it anymore. I think we kept on trying to keep the plant going and survive, but we reached a particular point where ... that was the decision we needed to make," Toth said.
The city claims it has tried to solve J-M's electrical problems by improving its system, recommending equipment upgrades at the plant and lowering the company's rates in the past several years, according to a Green Cove Springs news release.
The city claims J-M chose not to buy the equipment, even though the city offered to help with the expenses, according to the release.
J-M recently built a $35 million, 500,000-square-foot plant in Adel, Ga., to extrude PVC pipe. Toth said he did not know whether any operations from Florida will be transferred to the Adel facility, which has room for growth.