By John Toole
---- — MANCHESTER — Public Service of New Hampshire expects customers will see a big rate reduction soon, if state regulators approve.
“Customers purchasing energy from PSNH would see an average overall rate reduction of about 4.3 percent, if the figures in the preliminary filings go into effect,” the state’s largest utility announced last week.
Some savings also would come to consumers who have chosen alternate energy suppliers.
“Customers purchasing energy from a supplier other than PSNH would see an average overall rate reduction of about 2.7 percent on the PSNH side of their monthly bill,” the utility said.
There has been a surge in PSNH customers choosing so-called competitive electric suppliers. PSNH recently said about 50,000 customers in a base of 500,000 have done so.
Utility executives and analysts have attributed the movement mainly to a decline in natural gas prices allowing startup companies to provide power more cheaply than PSNH in the current market.
But PSNH is seeking a reduction in the energy service rate from 9.54 cents per kilowatt hour to 8.98 cents because of other positive developments working in its favor.
The utility estimates it saved customers more than $45 million in the first quarter of this year because of efficient operation of generating plants.
PSNH also anticipates savings from expiration of contracts with small independent power producers and final payoff of bonds for an electric utility restructuring with the state 12 years ago.