Daily Times file photoChris Taylor, head guide and owner of Fisheads San Juan River Lodge, fly fishes in the San Juan River in February 2012. Fisheads was
Daily Times file photo Chris Taylor, head guide and owner of Fisheads San Juan River Lodge, fly fishes in the San Juan River in February 2012. Fisheads was one Navajo Dam business that was at risk for losing natural gas service.
FARMINGTON — New Mexico Gas Company officials say an agreement awaiting state approval will ensure continued natural gas service to most of the San Juan County customers whose future service was in question.

The agreement still has to be approved by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission before it is finalized.

New Mexico Gas Company announced in spring 2012 that a method of supplying natural gas to 484 San Juan County customers was coming to an end in September 2012. The New Mexico Attorney General's Office filed a cease and desist order to block the September turn-off date and brought the case before the PRC.

The affected customers live in rural areas, including Navajo Dam, Crouch Mesa and certain areas off of La Plata Highway north of Farmington, and receive natural gas directly from either Williams Four Corners LLC or Enterprise Products gathering lines, which carry gas to a refinery for processing.

The pending agreement would leave 63 of 474 customers without natural gas services. Citing customer privacy, the Gas Company won't reveal where those 63 customers live, said Teala Kail, a company spokeswoman.

Of the 411 customers who will continue to receive natural gas as part of the pending agreement, Kail said New Mexico Gas extended its transmission lines to cover 326 of those customers in 2012.

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Kail said the customers who will receive natural gas service as part of the new agreement include the hotels, restaurants and other businesses in Navajo Dam.

Those business were at risk of closing without natural gas service, said Thaddeus Cano, the general manager of Fisheads San Juan River Lodge.

The pending agreement states New Mexico Gas' transmission lines in San Juan County will be extended to supply natural gas to 411 new customers. The cost of the extension, including the 326 customers already served, is estimated at $4.6 million, according to PRC documents.

The remaining 63 customers will be given a combined total of $387,566 to offset the cost of converting to an alternative heating source, which brings the total cost of the project to nearly $5 million.

Williams and Enterprise will provide $1.5 million and New Mexico Gas will give $100,000 to the project.

The remaining $3.4 million in costs will be split between gas company customers in the state.

New Mexico Gas previously announced a plan that would provide natural gas service to all but nine of the San Juan County customers who receive gas from gathering lines. That plan would cost between $8 million and $10 million and would have a bigger impact on Gas Company customers throughout the state.

The gas company has more than 500,000 customers in New Mexico.

Arthur Bishop, a spokesman for the PRC, said impacted customers had a May 2 deadline to indicate an interest in becoming a party to the case. They have until June 4 to file written statements in support of or in opposition to the new agreement.


Ryan Boetel can be reached at rboetel@daily-times.com; 505-564-4644. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel.