Deregulation of New Hampshire’s electricity market moved a giantstep closer to becoming a reality on Tuesday. The New HampshirePublic Utilities Commission approved the state’s settlementagreement with Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH),allowing the process of electric restructuring to continue on itstrack.

The agreement will give NH residents and businesses to a 5% cutin their electricity prices starting Oct. 1, 2000, with anotherreduction of 10% down the road.

“The battle to lower electric rates has been hard-fought andlong-run, but it has been worth the fight,” stated Gov. JeanneShaheen in a statement. “In just a few weeks, electric bills willbe lower in New Hampshire. This is a great decision for electriccustomers in New Hampshire and another significant milestone in ourlong fight to lower electric rates.”

The settlement is the latest maneuver in what has been anextensive campaign. In May, an agreement aimed at significantlyreducing electric rates for PSNH customers was approved by the NHlegislature and signed into law by Shaheen on June 12.

Once competition begins, PSNH’s residential and small businesscustomers will have a two year and nine month transition period tochoose a competitive energy supplier.

PSNH is New Hampshire’s largest electric utility. As awholly-owned subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, a utility holdingcompany based in Connecticut, PSNH is also part of New England’slargest electric system.

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