By Katina Caraganis
LUNENBURG -- Residents will again see a decrease in their electric rates beginning this month after the town successfully negotiated a new municipal aggregation plan with the help of Colonial Power Group.
The new rate, which will last from this month through June, will be $0.09215 per kilowatt hour. Then, from June 2014 through next November, the price will fall to $0.077/kWh.
The contract extension and new prices were awarded to Dominion Energy Services. The contract began at the June meter reading this year for all eligible customers and ends next November.
In June, selectmen opted to move forward with a rate of 7.75 cents per kWh, which was slightly below Unitil's base rate of 7.8661 cents per kWh.
Brian Murphy, president of Colonial Power Group, said it's not unusual for ratepayers to see a higher cost associated with power supply during the winter months.
Rates will be monitored over the course of the summer and fall, he said, to see whether a lower rate can be secured down the road.
Municipal aggregation allows local municipalities to combine the purchasing power of their residents to achieve savings on electricity costs.
The town temporarily suspended the service in 2012, when Unitil's basic service rates were the most competitive rates around. In 2012, the town had the lowest electricity supply rates available to anyone in the state.
Since the inception of the program, Lunenburg and businesses have saved $183,301.72 on their electric bills as of this past September.
Town Manager Kerry Speidel said the selectmen authorizing the extension of the program allows the town to continue to provide local energy services in a way that "stabilizes costs, promotes competition and ensures local control over energy supplies."
Selectmen Chairman Tom Alonzo said the program does not add additional money to the tax burden while providing "price stability, local control and competition."
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