Utility: No guarantees on northwest NM power plant

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By Associated Press

FARMINGTON (AP) — An official of the company that runs the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington is offering no guarantees about its future.

Arizona Public Service Co. announced plans last week to close three of the plant's generating units and seek majority ownership of the remaining two units from Southern California Edison.

The utility's vice president for fossil operations, David Hansen, could not give Farmington city councilors any guarantees Tuesday about the two remaining units at the northwestern New Mexico plant.

"There is still the potential for units 4 and 5 to be shut down," Hansen said.

The plant's future rests on the utility reaching an agreement with the Navajo Nation to extend a lease on the reservation and on regulatory approval of a $249 million deal for the company to buy the stake in the remaining units from Southern California Edison.

The lease awaits tribal approval, Hansen said.

The agreement with the tribe expires in 2016. Hansen said if the Navajo Nation does not approve the extension or if regulators block the Southern California Edison deal, the utility would need to begin decommissioning the plant in 2014.

The power plant and the adjacent mine that feeds its generators are among the largest private employers in San Juan County.

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