Public to weigh in on plan to close part of coal-fired plant

 Public to weigh in on plan to close part of coal-fired plant

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico regulators are set to take testimony on a plan by the state's largest electric provider to shut down part of an aging coal-fired power plant that serves customers throughout the Southwest.

The Public Regulation Commission scheduled afternoon and evening sessions in the Farmington council chambers Wednesday on PNM's (NYSE: PNM) proposal to shut down two units of the San Juan Generating Station.

The public comment period follows weeks of evidentiary hearings that wrapped up in late January in Santa Fe. A hearing examiner will make a recommendation to the commission, and it could be months before a final decision is made.

PNM officials have said their plan is the most economical option for customers, but critics are concerned the utility could end up acquiring more coal power to fill the gap and that could end up costing customers more.

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