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Massachusetts utility company NStar announced last month that it intends to lower electricity rates for commercial and industrial customers in the state. The new electricity prices would be nearly 37 percent lower than previous rates.
The dramatic drop was spurred by the collapse of natural gas prices over the winter, which NStar spokesman Michael Durand said the company believes could continue into the summer. Massachusetts relies on natural gas for the majority of its electricity.
If approved by state regulators, the electricity rates would fall from 8.207 cents per kilowatt-hour to 5.186 cents per kilowatt-hour on April 1. There is some possibility that residential electricity rates could similarly fall when they change in July.
This could cause a big push from retail electricity providers to try to lower their prices to match NStar.
According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy Environmental Affairs, more than 95,000 commercial and industrial customers in the state receive their power from alternative electricity providers as of this January, or more than 28 percent. Together these businesses used more than 1,775 gigawatt-hours of electricity, or nearly 89 percent of all the state's electricity.