Central Vermont Public Service and the Vermont Department of Public Service have agreed to a rate settlement that will leave customer rates flat. In November, CVPS was authorized to increase its rates by one-third of a percent, while the DPS had suggested a decrease of 0.43 percent effective Jan. 1.Rates will remain unchanged pending Public Service Board approval of the settlement with the DPS. Accordingly, the bill for a residential customer who uses 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month will remain $73.11.By comparison, the same customer would pay up to $83.16 elsewhere in Vermont, and as much as $117.45 elsewhere in New England, according to the Edison Electric Institute.CVPS’s rates will serve as the base rates for a new alternative regulation framework approved by the PSB in September. Under the plan, CVPS’s rates will be adjusted every quarter to account for specified changes in power costs, and annually for specified changes in other costs and earnings.The new regulatory framework includes incentives to encourage CVPS to become more efficient and share related savings with customers. As part of the settlement, the PSB will investigate CVPS’s employee levels to ensure the company continues to operate efficiently.