FAIRBANKS — Golden Valley Electric Association is projecting a $4 decrease in the average customer’s monthly bill starting next month, a dip attributed to lower fuel expenses for the Interior utility.

GVEA’s fuel and purchase power charge has dropped by 24 percent in the past two years, a trend attributed to declining oil prices, added wind-power and a deal to buy cheaper natural gas power from Chugach Electric.

Effective Dec. 1, the average residential bill (using 660 kilowatt hours), will be about $146. The fuel and purchased power charge will decrease by $6, offsetting a $2 increase in the utility charge, which covers GVEA’s operational costs.

GVEA CEO and President Cory Borgeson said the contract to buy electricity from Anchorage utilities is reaping benefits. The deal with Chugach Electric runs through 2015, when GVEA is scheduled to restart a dormant coal-fired power plant in Healy.

The fuel and purchase power charge, which is passed on to customers to pay for electricity generated with diesel and other expensive fuels, will constitute about 44 percent of the average bill starting next month, according to GVEA. The charge will decrease from 10.5 cents to 9.6 cents per kilowatt hour next month.

Contact staff writer Jeff Richardson at 459-7518. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMbusiness.