New York State regulators approve three year rate plan for Central Hudson Gas & Electric
A new three-year rate plan from Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. won the approval of the New York State Public Service Commission last week, setting a course for modest electric delivery rate reductions and larger electric bill reductions for qualified households.
Total residential electric bills should, on average, decrease about .25 percent in the first year of the plan before increasing 1.3 percent ($1.72 per month) in the second year and 1.4 percent ($1.82 per month) in the third year. For natural gas customers, however, increases will follow throughout: 1.2 percent ($1.64 per month) in the first year, 1.6 percent ($2.17 per month) in the second year, and 1.1 percent ($1.50 per month) during the third year. This will be subject to market conditions.
These increases will help Central Hudson to invest in its electric and gas system’s reliability and resiliency, specifically focused on storm hardening, while also allowing for expanded vegetation management and the deployment of helpful new technologies. The company also intends to expand energy efficiency programs, offering more rebates and incentives to purchase ground and air-sources electric heat pumps, electric vehicle charging initiatives, and reducing emissions.
“The approved rate plan is the result of months of extensive discussions with the Department of Public Service Staff, consumer advocates, environmental organizations, local community groups, and other stakeholders,” Charles Freni, president and CEO of Central Hudson, said. “This new rate plan will allow us to modernize our electric, natural gas, and information technology systems, reinforce the provision of safe and reliable energy services and further protect against cyber security risks while helping our customers with the challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The plan will extend through June 2024. Despite the increases, the agreement does delay certain projects to reduce costs and opens the door for a number of more specific reductions to aid pandemic recovery. These include bill reductions for income-qualified households and expanded access to the company’s Energy Affordability Program, more bill credits, and reduced expenses to cope with the pandemic’s effects at large.
The agreed-upon rate plan was reached through a settlement between Central Hudson, the Staff of the Department of Public Service and parties including the Public Utility Law Project of New York, Inc.; the Utility Intervention Unit of the Department of State, Division of Consumer Protection; Alliance for a Green Economy; Dutchess County; New York Power Authority; New York Geothermal Energy Organization; Family Energy, Inc; Marathon Power LLC; and M&R Energy Resources Corporation.