AUGUSTA, Maine — Rates are going down for residential and small commercial electric customers in Maine.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission approved new rates Tuesday that will result in prices going down more than 6 percent in the Central Maine Power and Bangor Hydro Electric service areas.

The PUC says the lower prices are a reflection of a robust auction process, where companies offer competing bids to supply power.

Commission Chairman Tom Welch says the lower rates will result in savings of about $50 million next year.

The new rates will be in effect for one year beginning March 1, 2012.