Idaho Power Co. and retail energy providers that offer wind energy faced off in front of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday, August 7, during the first of three hearings that are set determine if the utility can propose rules to govern smaller, independent power projects, The Associated Press reports.

According to the media outlet, Idaho Power is one of many utilities that are attempting to change the minds of members of the PUC, who say the price formula the utility uses to set electricity rates should stay the same. But alternative energy suppliers say that if the regulators and utilities pair up, it could mean the end of smaller, renewable energy projects.

"What this proceeding is about is the proper price," Donovan Walker, Idaho Power Co. senior counsel, told The Associated Press outside the hearings. "We believe it has been priced improperly and our customers are being harmed."

States with energy deregulation laws, such as New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, are experiencing a rise in the number of alternative energy providers, as the laws foster a strong competitive environment, and allow students to switch energy providers.