An Emera Maine truck in front of one of its operations centers in Maine. Credit: Courtesy of Emera Maine

Some Emera Maine customers will be pleased when they open their electric bills next year to see a lower amount due.

Emera Maine’s Bangor Hydro district customers can expect an average residential bill to decrease about 8.4 percent. That compares to an increase of 6.5 percent in 2019, including supply and delivery service.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission set the 2020 electricity prices for small customers on Tuesday, which includes small businesses and residential customers.

The price applies to customers who receive the “standard offer,” a fixed rate approved by state utility regulators each year as a default electricity option.

The commission dropped the rate for the standard offer, one of several portions of a customer’s electricity bill, by 18 percent for small customers in 2020.

An average customer using 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity will see their bill drop by $7.45 per month to $81.60 per month. That’s a savings of just under $90 annually over current rates, according to the commission.

The commission is scheduled to set the standard offer electricity supply prices for Central Maine Power and Emera Maine’s Public District on Nov. 13.

“I find these bids are competitive and provide the best value for standard offer customers in Emera territory,” Philip Bartlett, chair of the commission, said during deliberations Tuesday afternoon.

Next year’s prices are a reversal from those set in 2019, when the standard offer rate for Emera’s residential and small business customers rose 15.8 percent.

The new prices are effective for 12 months starting Jan. 1, 2020. While the residential and small business prices will be the same each month, the price for medium businesses will vary month to month. They commission cut that rate by 21 percent.

The commission arranges for standard-offer service through a competitive bidding process. The commission did not reveal the names of the winning electricity suppliers.

A Maine law enacted in March 2000 created electricity rate competition. It states that any customer who does not designate a competitive electricity provider to supply their electricity will receive standard-offer service.

Emera Maine and CMP do not supply electricity. They offer transmission and distribution services for the electricity.

Lori Valigra, investigative reporter for the environment, holds an M.S. in journalism from Boston University. She was a Knight journalism fellow at M.I.T. and has extensive international reporting experience...