Utility defends plans to replace power from San Juan plant

 Utility defends plans to replace power from San Juan plant

Caption: San Juan Generating Station

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico's largest electric provider is defending its plan to replace part of an aging coal-fired power plant with a mix of more coal, natural gas, nuclear and solar power.

Critics say the plan isn't in the best interest of ratepayers.

But Public Service Co. of New Mexico said Monday in a filing with state regulators that rejecting the plan could jeopardize the continued operation of the San Juan Generating Station and end up costing customers more.

A hearing examiner recommended earlier this month that PNM's plan not be approved unless changes are made. He pointed to uncertainty surrounding the ownership makeup of the plant and a lack of a coal contract beyond 2017.

State regulators will consider the case during their meeting Wednesday.

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