Bill Relief Program
You may have seen our notice in the local papers or heard about a new surcharge on your Central Hudson bill. We would like to answer some questions and provide you with accurate information about the Electric and Gas Bill Relief Program, and how it affects you, our customer.
What is the Electric and Gas Bill Relief Program?
The Electric and Gas Bill Relief Program is a program designed to assist low-income families and individuals throughout the state who experienced hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What does the program do?
This program helps reduce past due balances for income-qualifying customers. It was approved by the New York Public Service Commission in June and is supported through funding by the State ($250 million) and a surcharge on the bills of customers at every major energy utility in New York.
Residential utility customers who receive income-qualified government assistance for utility bills and other expenses and have past-due balances for service through May 1, 2022, will have those balances forgiven through a bill credit. These customers remain responsible for charges incurred after May 1.
What does this mean for my Central Hudson bill?
Every attempt is being made to provide real relief to the customers who need it most while minimizing the impact on other customers. For Central Hudson's residential customers, the typical total bill impact will be approximately 0.5 percent through August 2023. This surcharge is factored into the existing "Miscellaneous Charges" line item on your bill, which includes various other adjustments. Click here for a description of this "Miscellaneous Charges" line and the other line items on your bill.
Why is this surcharge needed?
When the initial wave of COVID-19 struck New York, thousands of residents experienced unprecedented hardship as the State and the economy shut down in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. New York implemented a moratorium that allowed impacted customers to forego payment of their utility bill with no penalty and no threat of service termination. This moratorium remained in place until December 2021 and Central Hudson has voluntarily kept this practice in place since then.
From the start of the pandemic to now, New York has seen past due balances on utility accounts swell to over $1 billion. Central Hudson's arrears have currently grown from approximately $33 million in August 2019 to nearly $100 million today.
Electric and gas utilities like Central Hudson pay many of the costs of operating a safe and reliable energy system up front. With the oversight and approval of the Public Service Commission, the company recovers these costs through rates and surcharges.
This program will help the most financially vulnerable customers throughout New York State regain some financial stability and allow them to resume timely monthly utility bill payments.
What is Central Hudson doing to help all customers?
In recognizing that all of our customers were impacted by the pandemic, Central Hudson contributed $4.5 million for COVID-related issues. This contribution resulted in a reduction of delivery rates for all of our customers during the first year of our current rate plan.