MACHIAS, Maine — Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative will be lowering its supply prices beginning April 1.

The first year of a new three-year contract awarded to New Brunswick Power of Fredericton, New Brunswick, will lower the cost of electricity supply for cooperative members from the existing rate of 9.15 cents per kilowatt-hour to 7.354 cents per kilowatt-hour. The decrease will bring a savings of 1.796 cents per kilowatt-hour on electricity used beginning April 1.

Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit, consumer-owned utility serving approximately 12,600 members in a 3,000-square-mile area in Penobscot, Aroostook and northern Washington counties.

According to the cooperative’s Charlie McAlpine, the move drops the supply rate at the cooperative below the company’s closest competitor, Bangor Hydro Electric Co.

The new rate will decrease the total residential electric bill by approximately 10 percent and the standard offer supply portion of the bill by 19 percent.

For a family using an average of 600 kilowatt-hours per month, the change will bring savings of $10.78 per month or $129.36 per year, McAlpine said this week. A business using an average 2,000 kilowatt-hours per month will save $35.92 per month or $431.04 per year. Actual savings will vary depending upon the kilowatt-hours used, he said.

McAlpine said the standard offer supply rate will increase in years two and three of the contract. In year two the price per kilowatt-hour for supply will be 7.637 cents, and in year three the price will be 7.859 cents.

“We are very glad that our members will see a rate decrease,” said cooperative CEO Scott Hallowell in a news release. “A reduction in costs to individuals and businesses should be helpful, particularly during the current economic times.”

McAlpine said that the standard offer rate is selected through a competitive bid process.

After the deregulation of Maine’s electricity market, utilities such as Eastern Maine Electric provided delivery service for the electricity sold to its customers by another company. The delivery utilities are responsible for the power lines and perform the metering and billing for both delivery service and electricity supply. The electricity supply billing is forwarded to the standard offer supplier.