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Hoku solar plant gets power reprieve, for now

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BOISE, Idaho >> At least for now, the lights will stay on at Hoku Corp.’s plant in Pocatello.

Idaho Power Co. had threatened to shut off electricity after the Honolulu-based polysilicon maker missed a $1.9 million payment in November because of cash problems.

But Tuesday, Idaho Public Utilities Commissioners set a schedule to hear out the dispute, with arguments set for meetings next Tuesday or Wednesday.

And as long as the case is unresolved, regulators say Idaho Power can’t shut off electricity to Hoku.

Hoku has warned that losing power in the middle of a freezing winter could jeopardize just-completed facilities at its new $390 million Pocatello plant.

Idaho Power says allowing Hoku to continue to receive electricity without paying its bills puts the utility at risk of losing millions in the deal.

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