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PacifiCorp, Utah Power's parent company, said Friday it will undertake a third round of layoffs this summer, bringing to 272 the total number of layoffs announced since July 12.

The latest cuts involve a permanent work force reduction of 71 regular, full-time employees at the Jim Bridger power plant in Rock Springs and the Dave Johnston power plant in Glenrock.In a release, company spokeswoman Leslie Blythe said the cuts would affect 84 positions, including several that are vacant and will not be filled.

The decision to cut 35 positions at the Dave Johnston plant and 49 positions at the Jim Bridger plant was announced to employees Friday morning, Blythe said.

After an earlier round of cuts, PacifiCorp officials said the reduction was made in response to higher competition, lower prices and impending deregulations in the power-generation industry.

The company's electric utility division serves about 1.3 million customers in seven Western states.