As of January 1, electricity customers in Connecticut are carrying a much lighter load thanks to an improving energy market, where costs have fallen in part due to greater competition, the Hartford Courant reports.

According to the media outlet, the average residential electricity customer in Connecticut – who has for years been paying the highest electricity rates in the contiguous United States – will see their bills fall dramatically. Those with utility Connecticut Light and Power will save $53 on a monthly bill for 700 kilowatt-hours, and customers of United Illuminating will save $28.

On average, CL&P customers will see a 3.8 percent drop in their rates compared with last year’s – roughly 16.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, which includes costs associated with distribution and generation. UI customers will see a 1.6 percent drop, or about 29.2 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Most of the savings can be traced back to lower generation costs, which are now being passed on to customers. CL&P is generating power for 3.9 percent less, while generation costs have fallen 11.8 percent for UI. These drops have been attributed to lower fuel prices, according to John Betkoski III,  vice chairman of the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

“For the generation portion we should keep going in this downward trend,” he said.

Making the switch
Savings could be even higher for the 45 percent of electric customers in Connecticut that have decided to switch electricity providers, the news source stated.

Connecticut’s attorney general and consumer counsel recently announced that they fully support the state’s energy deregulation law, and added that they hope to see residents consider switching providers in the future. This would allow CL&P and UI to continue delivering power, but the electricity would be generated by an outside company.

“This is a good time for Connecticut residents to carefully examine their electricity bill and to compare generation service providers for the best rates,” Attorney General George Jepsen said in a statement released Friday. “Investing a little time now in comparison shopping could reduce monthly electric bills in the year ahead.”

According to the Stamford Advocate, many small businesses in Connecticut are beginning to switch providers, too. Since 2007, businesses have had the option to shop for electricity – a move many say has helped them save.