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NStar deal with Cape Wind gets OK

Following an eight-month review, state utility regulators on Monday approved NStar’s 15-year contract to buy power from Cape Wind, a deal that is expected to moderately increase the average residential customer’s monthly bill for electricity.

The Boston-based utility will purchase 27.5 percent of the power generated by the offshore renewable energy project for a starting price of 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour in 2013. The cost paid by the utility will rise by 3.5 percent each subsequent year.

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NStar residential electric customers can expect to see their bill rise by about $1.16 a month, on average.

Regulators signed off on the deal after finding the “benefits of the contract exceeded its costs” and that it provides “adequate protections” for ratepayers, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.

The wind farm will help the state meet its aggressive goals to use more renewable energy sources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The utility agency’s approval was largely expected, given that regulators approved a similar deal between Cape Wind and National Grid in ­November 2010.

Finding paying customers such as NStar was considered a key step for Cape Wind to attract financing to build the controversial wind farm.

Erin Ailworth can be reached at eailworth@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ailworth.
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