Decisions of such gravity should be reserved for the Legislature, Richardson added, not the three-member PUC.

The Idaho Legislature, however, has been reluctant to intervene, setting the stage for this week's hearings.

In the 2012 session, lawmakers rejected legislation sponsored by Idaho Power, Rocky Mountain Power and Avista to award them the RECs, leaving matters for regulators to decide.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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