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Your Rights and Responsibilities
as our Residential Customer
Central Hudson values having you as a customer and wants to continue to be your energy delivery service provider in the years ahead. Our goal is to continue to provide you with the lowest possible price and the highest level of customer service. Your satisfaction is of great importance to us.

Whenever you have a question, problem or complaint about your gas or electric service or bill, please contact us. You are entitled to – and you’ll receive – a prompt and polite answer to your call. Central Hudson employees are available to help you.

Our policies and programs are designed to make it easier for you to do business with us. This document describes how Central Hudson's procedures and safeguards work and how you can contact us. In addition, it explains the rights you are entitled to as a residential Central Hudson customer under the New York State Public Service Commission Rules and the Home Energy Fair Practices Act (HEFPA).

Customer Assistance Referral Plan
When you write or call us, our Customer Service Representatives will answer your question or respond to your request quickly and courteously. If after talking with our representative you feel your problem has not been resolved to your satisfaction, please ask to speak with a supervisor or a Consumer Outreach representative.

If you are still not satisfied, further assistance is available through our Customer Assistance Referral Program. We encourage you to contact the Manager of Customer Account Services, the Vice President of Customer Services or our President. They are all available to help you.

Customer Choice Plan
Our Customer Choice Plan provides you with the opportunity to choose who supplies your electricity and/or natural gas. Previously, your electricity and/or natural gas were both supplied and delivered by Central Hudson. Under Customer Choice, you are able to choose a supplier from those alternate suppliers eligible to do business in our area. If you do not choose an alternate supplier, Central Hudson will purchase the energy on your behalf at market prices. To learn more about your energy options, go to the Energy Choice section of our website.

Regardless of where you purchase your electricity or natural gas, Central Hudson will continue to deliver it over our transmission and distribution systems, 24-hours a day, and will also continue to provide all customer service support functions. And, regardless of where you purchase your electricity or natural gas, the rights and responsibilities described here will remain in effect for your Central Hudson delivery service. If you purchase your electricity or natural gas from an alternate supplier, your rights and responsibilities relating to that service will be provided through your contract with your supplier.

Eligibility for natural gas consumers to participate is based on your annual natural gas consumption, or on the total consumption level of a group of gas customers aggregated together by a marketer.
Customer Choice participants have two billing options.  Under the Single Bill Option, you will receive one bill from Central Hudson which includes our charges for delivery service as well as your energy supplier’s charges.  You make one payment to Central Hudson for all charges.  Under the Dual Bill Option, you will receive two separate bills—one from Central Hudson for delivery charges, and a bill from your energy supplier for their supply charges.  You are responsible for paying each company separately.  Your energy supplier will notify Central Hudson of your chosen billing option.

Contact Customer Account Services for a list of eligible marketers in our service territory, or check our website.

Application for Service
Central Hudson will provide service to an applicant within five business days of an accepted oral or written service application, except under unusual circumstances. You will be required to complete a written application if there are arrears at the premises to be served and service has been or is in jeopardy of being terminated for nonpayment, there is evidence of fraud, meter tampering or theft of service, or a third party is applying for service.

Central Hudson is not obligated to provide service to an applicant who owes money from a prior residential account, unless the applicant:

  • makes full payment;
  • agrees to make payment under a deferred payment agreement;
  • has a pending bill dispute for the unpaid amount;
  • receives public assistance or supplemental security income benefits under Social Services Law, and the Company is notified by an official at Social Services that past and future payments are guaranteed; or is seasonal or short-term and pays the required deposit.
If your service is denied, we will send you a written notice, within three business days, stating the reason for denial and what actions are necessary for you to obtain service. You are entitled to a PSC review of this denial. Service previously denied will be extended within two business days upon elimination of the denial reason or at the direction of the PSC.

Customer Identification
At the time you apply for service, our representative may ask you to provide two reasonable forms of identification to validate your name and prior address. Service may be denied if this proof is not provided.

Security Deposits
We usually do not ask for a deposit when you apply for residential service, unless you are a short-term or seasonal customer. A short-term or seasonal customer is one who has an account with us for less than one year. Generally, deposits are based on two times the average monthly bill. If you heat with gas or electricity, the deposit is two times the average monthly bill between November 1 and April 15.

 Year-Round or Existing Customers: If your payments are consistently late, or you are applying for a new Central Hudson account within 60 days of closing an old account, we may ask you for a deposit if:

  • you are two consecutive months behind on your bill and have not paid at least half of the overdue amount; or
  • the bill you get once every two months is 50 days overdue, and you have not paid at least half of what you owe; or
  • we have disconnected your service for nonpayment during the last six months.

If we require a deposit, you have a choice of how to pay. You may either pay it in full within 20 days of our request or in 12 monthly installments.

Senior Citizens: If you are 62 or older, we will not ask you for a deposit unless your service was turned off for non-payment within the last six months.

Public Assistance: If you receive public assistance, we will not require you to pay a deposit.

Refunds: We will hold your deposit for one year. If you maintain a good payment record during that year, we will refund the deposit plus the interest at a rate set by the PSC. If your payments are not up to date, we will hold the deposit and credit the interest to your account on a yearly basis.

Access to our Meter
We read the meter so that we can send you an accurate bill based on the actual amount of gas or electricity you use. If we are unable to read the meter for four consecutive months, we will send you a letter requesting you read the meter yourself or make a special appointment for us to read it. To make reading our meter more convenient, we have several options available:

  • you can enter your meter reading on our website; or
  • you can arrange for us to read the meter during or after normal business hours; or
  • you can provide us with a key to your premises which will give us access to the meter.
  • If you do not control access to the meter, please help us by letting us know who does control the access, so we will be able to obtain an accurate reading.
If you haven't provided us with a meter reading or called for an appointment in eight consecutive months, you or your building operator may be subject to a $25 charge. To avoid this fee, use any of these options to provide us with a meter reading.

Photo ID Card
For your protection every Central Hudson employee carries a photo ID card, which you should inspect before he or she enters your home. Always ask to see this ID card.

Tenants
If you rent an apartment and have a separate meter from others in your building, we will not charge you for electricity or gas used elsewhere in the building. We will not discontinue your service for failing to pay for energy used outside your apartment. If you believe you are being charged for energy others are using, contact Customer Account Services to schedule an investigation.

Owners of Residential Rental Property
If you own residential rental property and it is determined a shared meter condition exists, you may be responsible for the cost of utility service registered through that meter. A shared meter condition exists when a utility meter that measures electric or gas service to a tenant’s dwelling unit also measures service to another dwelling unit or to a common area.

If you suspect a shared meter condition exists at your rental property, contact us to schedule an investigation.

If an owner does not voluntarily eliminate a shared meter condition or ask the utility to investigate a suspected shared meter condition, a one-time assessment of 12 months of  estimated bills will be added to any other charges that the owner is required to pay.

 A summary of the revised New York State Shared Meter Law and its exceptions will be mailed to you at your request. This summary outlines the obligations and rights of the owners and tenants as well as accepted alternatives to correcting a shared meter condition.

Billing
Whether you have gas or electric service, or both, your Central Hudson bill shows the amount of energy used. If you are on our Budget Billing Plan, you receive a monthly bill; if not, you receive a bill every two months.

When to Pay: Central Hudson bills you for gas and electricity after you use it. Bills are due and payable when received by you. A payment is overdue 23 days after the bill is mailed to you. If you pay after the late payment date displayed on the bill, you will also have to pay a late payment charge. If you are unable to pay your bill by the late payment date, please call us to arrange for a payment agreement. (For details, see below.)

Where to Pay: Central Hudson offers convenient, online access to your bills, and secure electronic payment options through eBills. Visit www.CentralHudson.com to sign up. We offer several other ways to pay your electricity and natural gas bills: Direct Pay Service offers the convenience of having your billed amount withdrawn automatically from your bank account. Pay-By-Check through our automated phone system; U.S. Mail, by sending a check or money order in the return envelope enclosed with your bill; at a secure drop-box located at each of our five Customer Service offices, or at various locations within our service area that accept our bill payments where you will be required to pay a cash service fee.  Click here for a listing of bill payment locations. To pay your Central Hudson bill with your credit or debit card, call 1-888-909-4634 or visit our website. The Third Party payment processing agent will charge you a fee for this service.

Billing Accuracy: We do everything we can to read our meter before we send you a bill. There may be times when we have to estimate your usage, because we may not be able to obtain access to our meter. To prepare an estimated bill many factors are considered, including your past usage and weather conditions during the billing period. Whenever we send out an estimated bill, it is clearly marked as an “estimate” on the statement you receive from us.

If our next meter reading shows we underestimated your actual energy use by more than 50 percent, or $100 – whichever figure is greater – we will notify you. You have the right to pay this amount in installments; if you wish to make a payment arrangement, please contact us.

Budget Billing
To help you plan for your energy costs, our Budget Billing Plan will spread your charges evenly over a 12-month period. This plan does not reduce your overall energy cost, but it can help you avoid peak summer and winter bills so you can budget household expenses more conveniently. Contact Customer Account Services for more information, or go to the Customer Self-Service section of our website.

Time of Use Billing Option
Time-of-Use is an optional billing method for residential customers to purchase their electricity based on when the actual use of electricity occurs. Time-of-Use pricing charges customers lower prices for electricity used during periods of low overall electric demand (off-peak hours) and higher prices during periods of higher electric demand (on-peak hours). By shifting the consumption of electricity to periods of lower demand, customers can take advantage of lower-cost energy. For more information on Time-of-Use Billing click here.

Quarterly Billing
A quarterly payment plan is available if you are age 62 or older and your annual bill does not exceed $150.

Payment Agreements
If you’re having money problems that make it difficult for you to pay your Central Hudson bill, we will work with you to develop a payment agreement. In making the agreement, we will consider your financial circumstances and any income limitations you may have.

As part of a payment agreement, we will discuss a down payment and work out a payment schedule with you based on your financial situation. We will decide together the length of the agreement and amount of each payment. If you are eligible, installment payments may be as low as $10 per month, plus your current bill.

All agreements must be in writing and signed by you and our representative. Once you sign and return the agreement to us, we will not assess finance charges to your past due amount if all required installment and current bill payments are made on time.

Terms of Agreement: If we cannot agree on either the down payment or the monthly installments, and you have a positive ability to pay, we will offer you a standard agreement. This standard agreement calls for a down payment of 15 percent of the overdue amount or one-half of your average monthly bill – whichever is greater. Under this standard agreement, monthly installment payments are either the cost of one-half of one month’s average use or one-tenth of the balance – whichever is greater. But remember, all current bills and monthly installments under a payment agreement must be paid on time.

If your financial situation makes it impossible to meet the terms of the standard agreement we send you, please call Customer Account Services for additional assistance. To further assist you, we may adjust this agreement later if your financial situation deteriorates. If we are still unable to reach an agreement, further help is available through our Customer Assistance Referral Program.

Disconnection for Non-Payment
The last thing we want to do is disconnect your gas or electric service. We will NOT disconnect your service without first sending you a “Final Termination Notice,” which gives you an additional 15 days to arrange for payment.

We attempt to contact you by phone or mail to offer you a payment agreement not less than 10 days before the expiration date on a “Final Termination Notice.” We will proceed with disconnection of service if we don’t hear from you, or if our representative is unable to make a payment agreement with you.

Before we discontinue service, we make every effort to help you pay your bill. In many cases we can find other ways to keep your service on. We may be able to help you get assistance from other sources. Please call us. While we are working with you, we will not take any collection action on your account.

If it becomes necessary to discontinue your service for nonpayment, we will only do this between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday. We will not disconnect service on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, the day before a holiday, on a holiday, any day our office or the Public Service Commission is closed or during a two-week period in the Christmas – New Year season. If your service has been disconnected, call us to work out a payment agreement so we can restore service.
Safety Turn-Off Procedure: We will discontinue service any time we discover a serious safety or technical problem. It is your responsibility to correct this condition. After the problem is corrected, we will restore service as soon as possible.

Tenants in Multiple Dwellings: If you live in a building with two or more apartments where your landlord fails to pay gas or electric bills for which he or she is responsible, you may be able to keep the service on if you can join with other tenants to pay the bill. To do this you would have to pay only the current utility bill and you can – by law – deduct your share from your rent.

If your landlord hasn’t paid his or her utility bill, we will post notices throughout the building. We will also send notices to each tenant at least 15 days before the service will be turned off – 30 days during winter months. The notice tells you whom to contact to resolve the problem.

Reconnect Procedures
If your service has been disconnected, we will reconnect it within 24 hours when:

  • you have paid the amount due or signed a payment agreement, and if required under the agreement, made a down payment on your bill; or
  • you face a serious threat to health or safety; or
  • the PSC directs us to reconnect the service.

If your service is discontinued for nonpayment during the day, we will attempt to reconnect it that evening if you have satisfied the above conditions by 4:00 p.m.
If we do not reconnect your service within 24 hours (under the above conditions except when it is beyond our control) we will pay you $25 or $50 for each additional day you are without service. The amount we pay depends on the circumstances and is determined by the PSC.
If you receive public assistance, we will restore your service within 24 hours after we receive a notice of payment from the social service agency helping you.

There is a charge of $20, plus tax, to restore service during our regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. The fee is $40, plus tax, to restore service at all other times. If a line or gas crew is required to restore service, the fee to do so is $100, plus tax, during normal business hours, and $140, plus tax, at all other times.

Hardship Protections
Regardless of your payment record with Central Hudson, we will continue gas or electric service if your health or safety is threatened. When faced with such hardship cases, we will refer you to the Department of Social Services. To ensure you receive all the protections available to you, call Customer Account Services for details.

We will NOT disconnect your service under the following conditions:


Medical Hardship: If you or a member of your family who is living with you is ill or has a chronic medical condition, please contact us immediately. By filing a qualified medical certificate with us from your doctor or local Board of Health, we will continue your service for 30 days.
To renew the certificate after 30 days are up, have your doctor or Board of Health explain why the emergency service is still needed, and contact Customer Account Service to complete or update a financial statement. We will not turn off your service during your qualified health emergency, but you’re still responsible for the payment of your current Central Hudson bills.


Life-Support Equipment: If you, or someone who resides in your household, need electricity to operate a life-sustaining device, you will need to apply for the Life Support Equipment program. Download the application form and be sure to have your doctor sign it prior to sending it to us. As an added service, we will specially tag your meter and code your account to protect you from an accidental disconnection of service. The service is also available for any tenants you may have who require life support equipment and receive electric service through your account.

Hospitalization Program: When you or a member of your immediate family is hospitalized for a minimum of three days, we can help you with our Customer Hospitalization Program, which extends the payment date of your bill for up to 30 days. We also will not charge you a late payment charge on your bill for the 30-day period. Applications are available at many local hospitals or can be downloaded. Although you are still responsible for bill payments, we will not turn off your service during the period you or a family member is hospitalized. Please keep us informed about this situation.

Special Protections
If you and all members of your household are blind, disabled, or age 62 or older, or under the age of 18, please call us. We will mark your account to ensure you receive all protections under New York State Law. We will also make a special effort to maintain your service. We will contact you by phone or in person at least three days before we turn off your service for nonpayment to work out a payment agreement with you.

If an agreement can’t be reached, we will notify the Department of Social Services and will continue your service for another 15 days. In a case where service is turned off, we will attempt to contact you again in 10 days to offer you a payment plan to restore service.


Senior Citizens
If you are age 62 years or older, we can provide you with special services and protections. To ensure you receive these, call us. All information you provide will be kept strictly confidential. When you register, you will also receive our free newspaper, The Senior Times.

Third Party Notifications
You can choose a relative, friend, member of the clergy, or an agency to receive a third-party notice from us when your service could be disconnected for nonpayment. The third party is NOT responsible for paying the bill, but can contact us on your behalf to work out a payment agreement. The Third Party Form can be downloaded from our website.

Cold Weather Protections
(November 1 to the following April 15)

We consider heat-related service vital to maintaining your comfort and safety during the winter months. You have heat-related service if any of the following apply to you:

  • you heat with gas or electricity; or
  • you need electricity to start or operate your primary heating system; or
  • you use an electric heater because adequate heat is not supplied to you AND you have notified us of this fact in writing.

We will NOT disconnect your gas or electricity for nonpayment between November 1 and April 15, UNLESS we have made a diligent effort to personally contact you to determine no serious problem would result if the service was turned off.

The following describes the disconnect procedures we use during the cold weather months:
Customer Contact: At least three days before a disconnect is scheduled, we will try to contact you to make a payment arrangement. If our efforts to call you during the day and evening hours are unsuccessful, we will send a field representative to your home. If we fail to make contact with you, we may disconnect service.

But if we find a service termination might cause you serious harm, we will ask the Department of Social Services to look into the matter. The presence of young children, an illness, or a disabled person living in your home are some of the factors we consider when weighing the health and safety risks of disconnecting service during the winter. We will continue your service for at least 15 more business days while a solution is found.

Tenants: If you pay for heat or utility services in your rent, we will not turn off heat-related electric or gas service without giving you a written 10-day notice. During that period, we will determine if any tenant has a medical or other problem that would be worsened by discontinuing the heat. If a tenant with a medical problem is found in your building, we will continue service to the building and refer him or her to the Department of Social Services.

Essential Service Device: We will install an Essential Service Device (known as a "load limiter") on your electric meter during the period December 1st  through March 15th, instead of terminating service  for nonpayment. A load limiter will allow enough electricity to operate basic appliances, such as refrigeration, water supply, lighting and small motors in the heating system. The load limiter is removed when either the past-due bill is paid, a signed payment agreement is made, or you receive social service benefits. If none of these conditions are met, the limiter will be removed when the program ends. At that time, your service will be terminated for nonpayment.

Privacy Policy
Central Hudson is committed to maintaining the confidentiality, integrity and security of personal information about our customers. For full details, read Central Hudson's privacy policy, in its entirety, on our website.

Additional Rights
We make every effort to answer your questions and help you with your problem. If, after talking with us and after utilizing our Customer Assistance Referral Program, you still aren’t satisfied, you can write to the Public Service Commission (PSC).
New York State Public Service Commission
Consumer Services Division
3 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12223
You can also call the PSC’s toll-free “Helpline” at 800-342-3377.
These are the telephone numbers for Central Hudson's District Offices:

  • Customer Account Services Division Manager: (845) 486-5623
  • Upper Hudson Division: Catskill and Kingston (845) 334-3513
  • Mid-Hudson Division: Poughkeepsie (845) 486-5755
  • Lower Hudson Division: Fishkill (845) 897-6152
  • Lower Hudson Division: Newburgh (845) 563-4563

Here are some other energy-related telephone numbers you ought to keep handy:

  • 24-Hour Gas Odor Emergency Service  (800) 942-8274
    (To report natural gas odors only)
  • Dig Safely New York, Inc. (800) 962-7962 or dial 8-1-1
    (Call 2-10 days before digging or excavating)
Theft Of Service Hotline (877) 728-3465

Customer Account Services
For all customer inquiries, or to report a service problem, call (845) 452-2700 or, for calls from outside the 845 area code only, 1-800-527-2714
Hearing Impaired (TTY) (800) 635-6315

Customers who have touch-tone phones can utilize our automated telephone service to report electric service interruptions and obtain estimated restoration times, or to report a gas odor. In addition, through a series of easy-to-use directions, you can obtain general information regarding your account. This service also gives you the ability to provide us with your electric and/or gas meter reading.

At any time while using this automated service, you can choose to speak with one of our Customer Service Representatives by pressing the "O" (zero) button on your telephone. Customers who do not have touch-tone telephone service should remain on the line. A Customer Service Representative will assist you.


Telephone Inquiries:
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Monday - Friday)

9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Saturday)

EMERGENCY SERVICE - Call any time
You may also report a power outage on-line.

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