VINELAND – Officials with the city-operated electric company say they finally reached their goal of having the lowest rates in the state.

Vineland Municipal Electric Utility officials said the milestone was reached after they reduced the fuel adjustment charge for the second time this year.

A reduction in that charge, which is the part of the bill customers pay to finance purchase of fuel for power generation, will cut the average annual residential electric bill by about $60, VMEU officials said. The rate reduction takes affect this month, they said.

City officials said the rate decrease was caused by savings realized through VMEU’s new $60 million generating unit that went on line this past summer. The unit had a significant impact in reducing VMEU’s peak summer power cost, they said.

Information provided by VMEU shows the half-cent charge reduction sets the average month cost for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours per month at $135.98 per month. That is the lowest charge in the state as shown by statistics compiled by the Public Power Association of New Jersey. The average monthly cost for 1,000 kilowatt hours in the state is $174.18, association statistics show.

 “We’re very happy that we’ve achieved that goal,” city Municipal Utilities Director Joseph Isabella said.

 “Our goal is to continue to retool the electric utility while reducing costs to our citizens and businesses,” Mayor Robert Romano said.

 VMEU has reduced rates four time in the past four years, resulting in an annual savings of almost $380 to utilities customers since June 2008, he said.

 “This represents almost $16.5 million per year going to our local economy rather than into the hands of greedy energy suppliers,” Romano said.

VMEU has 21,696 residential customers and 3,335 commercial customers.