The recent merger between two of Vermont's largest utilities could have a ripple effect that may lead to a rise in electricity rates for customers at one of the state's smallest utilities, Vermont Public Radio reports.

The higher rates could come due to a higher transmission charge the new, merged company will create – one of the many unexpected problems that has arisen since Central Vermont Public Service Corporation merged with Green Mountain Power. The new company said it will create a new, single transmission rate, which could lead to a slight increase for Washington Electric Co-op.

"All other things staying the same, what they're asking for would be an increase of something like 1.25 percent," said Avram Patt, Washington Electric's general manager.

Patt added that the new transmission charges are rising because of higher service costs, and also the new company's move to create a single, system-wide charge during the post-merger integration phase.

Reorganizations among utilities can often result in price hikes, however, residents living in states with energy deregulation laws have the option to switch energy providers if they find a rate plan that is more affordable, or better reflects their energy usage habits.