The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission recently announced it is investigating the electricity rate hike proposed by state utility Public Service of New Hampshire to decide if the prices will be safe and reliable for state rate payers, the New Hampshire Union Leader reports.

The PUC issued an order that noted how drastically the market has changed since it implemented a law in 2003 that allowed the utility to keep its power plants even if it meant its customers would see their electricity rates go up.

This is an inquiry to be conducted by Commission Staff to explore the market conditions facing PSNH in the near term, PSNH’s proposals to maintain default service at just and reasonable rates in light of those market conditions, and the impact, if any, of continued ownership and operation on the competitive electric market, the order read.

The PUC went on to say that because of the significant drop in natural gas prices, electricity prices have fallen far below the utility’s power generation costs. Even if the utility purchases electricity on the competitive market, made possible by the state’s energy deregulation law, customers will still foot the generation bill.

According to the Darien News, utilities, which are increasingly owned by investors, have reportedly put customer satisfaction on the back burner in exchange for better stock and dividend performances, driving many to switch electricity providers.