Central Hudson cautions customers of higher energy supply prices due to market forces

Published on September 15, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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Central Hudson Gas & Electric is cautioning customers to prepare for higher energy supply prices due to several external factors.

The New York State-based company cited several factors that have driven electric and natural gas prices higher, including extended periods of high heat in August. Among the contributing factors is the closure of the Indian Point nuclear power plant last year, which increased the region’s reliance on natural gas for power generation. According to the New York Independent System Operator, retiring Indian Point raised the use of fossil fuels for generation in downstate New York from 77 percent to 89 percent. Also, it increased average electricity prices by 85 percent between 2020 and 2021. This trend has continued in 2022 as Central Hudson set an all-time record for single-day natural gas sent out on Aug. 4.

Also, while Central Hudson’s storage inventory remains slightly ahead of plan, physical storage inventory levels in the U.S. and Northeast remain lower than last year and below the five-year average ahead of an anticipated cold winter. In addition, supply and transportation pipeline constraints in the northeast continue to drive up prices during times of high demand. Further, an unplanned outage of a natural gas-fired power generator in eastern New York regionally contributed to higher electric prices. Finally, unrest in eastern Europe is having a significant impact on energy markets worldwide.

Thus, effective Sept. 13, the residential price for electric supply will increase from 8.32 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) in August to 13.06 cents per kWh. Also, natural gas prices that went into effect on Sept. 1 also increased from 87.1 cents per hundred-cubic-feet (ccf) in August to 97.8 cents per ccf. Central Hudson purchases electricity and gas from third-party suppliers on behalf of customers. These costs are not marked up, meaning customers pay the same rates as Central Hudson for the energy they use.

“We understand the challenges our customers face with regard to the increased cost of electricity and natural gas and are working hard to keep costs as low as possible,” Anthony Campagiorni, senior vice president of customer services and gas operations, said. “We encourage our customers to take advantage of the various assistance programs and billing options that are available to help manage account balances.”

There are several things that customers can do to manage their bills. They can increase energy efficiency by insulating ducts and hot water pipes where they run through uninsulated areas; adding insulation; turning down thermostats (each degree saves up to three percent on energy use); keeping radiators and heating ducts clear of furniture; and sealing air leaks with weather stripping and caulk. Central Hudson offers energy efficiency incentives for homes and businesses, including rebates of up to $1,000 on new, high-efficiency natural gas home heating systems, up to $1,600 on electric heat pump systems, $250 on indirect natural gas water heaters, and up to $1,000 on high-efficiency heat pump water heaters.

Central Hudson customers may enroll in the Budget Billing program, which divides a household’s average annual energy bill into 11 even monthly payments, with the 12th month’s payment adjusted up or down to reflect actual usage and market prices. Payment assistance options are also available to qualifying customers.