If you're a Connecticut Light & Power customer you got a little something extra in your stocking this holiday season, as the state's largest electrical company announced Thursday that most residential customers will see a 7.5 percent rate decease on their bills starting in January.
For a CL&P residential customer who has not chosen an alternative electricity supplier and uses 700 kilowatts hours of electricity per month that drop would result in a savings of $9.25 off their current bills, the utility said in a statement Thursday. A 700-kilowatts customer will see their monthly bill go from $123.61 down to $114.36, the lowest monthly total that CL&P customers have paid since 2005.
"The lower rates are primarily due to falling natural gas prices, which affects how much we pay for power," said Jim Muntz, CL&P's acting president. "This is very positive news not only for our residential customers, but for all of our Standard Service customers, who will see reductions in their rates."
CL&P said the new rates affect about 703,000, or 58 percent, of its over 1.2 million customers throughout Connecticut.
But the news wasn't positive for all CL&P customers Thursday, as the utility announced that rates for 159 of its largest commercial and industrial customers who did not choose an alternative electricity suppler, which the company refers to as Last Resort Service or LRS customers, will see a rate increase of 10.6 percent for the three-month period from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2012. The utility said the rate increase for LRS customers was due to increased power supply costs that third party wholesale electric suppliers were charging it to provide power to those customers.
CL&P purchases wholesale electricity several times a year over three-year spans, to allow it to select the best energy prices and cushion against swings in the marketplace that could push prices drastically up or down. Power rates typically fall in the winter months, when there is less demand on the grid, only to rise during the summer, when air conditioners and other electronic device spike demand.
Thursday's rate decrease may be one of the few shreds of good news the utility has provided to customers this year. , which hit the state in late August, and , which hit the state over the Halloween weekend, caused , many of whom remained without power for well over a week. for its response and preparedness for both storms, and former . for its response to those storms.