As requested by Central Vermont Public Service in November, the Vermont Public Service Board has authorized a 4.8 percent rate increase under the company’s alternative regulation plan. The change will take effect with bills rendered on January 2. Even after the increase, the company’s rates will remain competitive with the major utilities in New England. The bill for a residential customer who uses 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month will rise from $82.26 to $86.22. By comparison, the same customer would pay as much as $114.03 elsewhere in New England, according to the Edison Electric Institute. The rate change is being driven by a variety of factors, which include new power contracts at competitive, yet slightly higher costs, and investments in its system to improve reliability for customers. Meanwhile, the rate impact was mitigated by a reduction in CVPS’ allowed return on equity, which will drop from 9.45 to 9.17 percent.