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    The cost for electricity in Connecticut homes and businesses is increasing for the second time over a one year period.

    Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) customers will face an increase in their electric bill starting in January. The delivery rates for United Illuminating (UI) customers are down slightly; however, other costs will increase on the overall bill.

    Increases at both utilities will cost the average customer as much as $15 more a month beginning in January.

    For the past five or six years the story of power costs in Connecticut has been one of lower prices that eased pressure on residential and business customers that have long paid among the highest power rates in the country. Higher transmission costs pushed electric prices up slightly in the second half of 2013, and next year’s costs represent a steeper jump.

    Since 2010, electricity rates across all sectors have dropped 10 percent, while power prices across the country rose 9 percent, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

    With natural gas pipelines that feed Connecticut near capacity, gas-fired power plants are expecting another tough winter and fierce competition for the low-cost fuel, which makes up more than half of the New England electricity generation.

    Earlier this month, New England governors signed a pact to launch major energy infrastructure projects that could help drive down heat and power rates: regional efforts to jump start-development of new gas pipelines, energy-efficiency programs, renewable power plants, and electric transmission lines.

    But for now, at least, the costs will be paid by state ratepayers.

    At CL&P, the combined generation and delivery cost for customers using the utility’s standard service electricity rate is jumping 13 percent, to 18.5 cents a kilowatt hour, putting the cost per month at $129.26 for a customer using 700 kilowatt hours a month, according to a rate sheet from regulators. During the second half of 2013, a similar customer would have paid $114.05 a month excluding taxes.

    At UI, which delivers power to 325,000 customers from Fairfield to North Branford, total rates are increasing 2 percent, to 22.1 cents a kilowatt hour, making the monthly bill for same user of 700 kilowatt hours $154.71. During the second half of 2013, a similar customer would have paid $152.30 a month, excluding taxes.