Energy Supply Cost Volatility

Important Updates:

Do You Have a High Bill?

Check These Areas:

1. Billing Period
Check the date range your bill covers. Typically bills reflect one month of service, but sometimes include multiple months of service. 
Where to find it: Your billing period is located on the first page of your bill in the "Bill Summary" section.

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2. Supply Costs
Check the current supply rate on your bill. Due to recent energy market supply price volatility, which is explained throughout this Web page, your supply rate may be significantly higher than average and the cause of a higher than expected bill amount.
Where to find it: Supply rates are located on the page(s) of your bill where costs are itemized.  

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3. Past Usage & Costs
You can view a graph of your usage and cost history on our website and compare recent usage and charges to the previous year. Customers who heat with electricity or natural gas will have significantly higher usage and costs during winter months.
Where to find it: On the Usage History Web page


Supply Pricing Explained

Unlike Central Hudson's delivery rates, energy supply prices are based on market pricing. Supply prices rise and fall based on demand and fuel price fluctuations. Central Hudson and other delivery utilities do not dictate energy supply prices, nor do we profit from them. The supply portion of our customers' bill payment is paid to the independent generators and suppliers of electricity and natural gas. 

Supply prices for both electricity and natural gas increased significantly starting in early 2022 as the region navigated a colder than average winter and as global and regional energy factors affected pricing. Factors affecting supply prices in 2022 include:

  • Increased domestic demand due to a colder winter.
  • Constrained domestic pipeline capacity which curtails gas supplies.
  • Lower electric production by renewable generators in the winter, which shifts power production to generators using natural gas.
  • Regionally, an increased reliance on natural gas for power generation following the closure of Indian Point.
  • Increased global demand for natural gas, as the United States is now a primary exporter of liquefied natural gas to Europe due to shortages there.
  • Increased domestic demand for electricity and natural gas as the economy recovers from closures prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Here are some options to help you guard against the possibility of higher-than-usual energy bills:

Fixed-Rate Options

At Central Hudson, we’ve taken additional steps to help manage the unpredictability of electricity and gas supply prices during winter months when weather and other factors may significantly impact wholesale market prices. But if you prefer greater price certainty for electricity or natural gas supply, research the many fixed price and other alternative supply offerings available from the numerous qualified Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) that offer such options. You may find a list of all ESCOs on the New York State Power to Choose website. While fixed price options may not necessarily result in the lowest given supply price during any season, they can provide the peace of mind that helps to better manage your household budget.

Budget Billing

If you would like a consistent, predictable, monthly energy bill that is free of fluctuations caused by weather extremes, our Budget Billing program may be right for you. Budget Billing spreads your electric and natural gas bill payments evenly over 12 months. Your monthly budget payments will be uniform for 11 months and estimated based on your usage history. The bill for the 12th month will include a plus-or-minus adjustment to reflect your actual usage and energy charges incurred throughout the year.

To enroll in Budget Billing, click here.

Payment Assistance Programs

We offer an option to apply for deferred payment agreements so customers who have fallen behind on bills can get caught up. Additionally, our Good Neighbor Fund and public assistance programs such as HEAP are also available to assist income-eligible customers. You can learn about these options and programs on the Payment Assistance page of our website.

 

Supply Pricing Q&A

Below is a Q&A to help you understand the causes of recent energy supply price volatility and programs that are available to help.

Q: Why did bills go up?

The market costs of electricity and natural gas rose sharply in early 2022 due to colder weather and higher usage, and also national and international factors. Higher energy costs this winter were a global issue, affecting North America, Europe and Asia. There are similar price increases for heating oil, gasoline, propane and other fuels.

Q: What is the Delivery charge on your bills? And what is the Supply charge?

The three main components on utility bills are Taxes, Delivery charges and Supply charges. Delivery charges are set by state regulators and pay for the energy infrastructure and utility operations – these rates have not increased for this billing period and in fact slightly decreased in August. Supply charges are for the electricity and natural gas itself provided by independent generators and suppliers.

Q: What are the factors that are raising bills?

Factors include:

  • Increased domestic demand due to colder weather this year as compared to last year.
  • Constrained domestic pipeline capacity which curtails gas supplies.
  • Lower electric production by renewable generators in the winter, which shifts power production to generators using natural gas.
  • Regionally, an increased reliance on natural gas for power generation following the closure of Indian Point.
  • Increased global demand for natural gas, as the United States is now a primary exporter of liquefied natural gas to Europe due to shortages there.
  • Increased domestic demand for electricity and natural gas as the economy recovers from closures prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q: By how much are bills going up?

For updated information on this, please see our most recent news release here

Q: Why are you raising bills at a time when residents, businesses and communities are struggling?

Central Hudson does not control the energy supply portion of utility bills. These prices are determined by energy markets, and Central Hudson and other utilities do not mark up or profit on these costs. Customers pay the same energy costs as Central Hudson does.

Q: What is Central Hudson doing to manage these high energy costs?

Central Hudson has taken steps to reduce the impact of higher market prices by hedging energy supply, which means contracting for a portion of energy at fixed prices and purchasing natural gas in the summer when prices are lower and putting it into storage, to be drawn when prices rise. Click here to watch a recent video on how severe weather can impact utility bills.

Q: What happens if I cannot pay these high bills?

Central Hudson is offering no-cost payment plans. Since March 2020, Central Hudson has waived late fees and has not terminated utility services, and this continues. To avoid seasonal variations in energy bills, 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. This program makes energy bills more predictable and can help in managing household budgets.

Q: Are there grant programs available to help struggling families?

Payment assistance options are also available to income-qualified customers like the federally funded Home Energy Assistant Program (HEAP) grants and the new Regular Arrears Supplement program that provides up to $10,000 in utility arrears assistance to eligible households who are unable to pay their unpaid electric and/or gas utility arrears. Customer receiving HEAP benefits also qualify for the Bill Discount program. Other programs include the Extra Security Plan which offers an extended billing due-date for qualified customers on a fixed income and the Good Neighbor Fund which provides last resort grants for families who have exhausted all other means of assistance. 

Q: Do third-party energy suppliers offer lower rates than Central Hudson?

Third party suppliers, referred to as Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), offer customers an option in purchasing of electric and natural gas supply. The rates ESCOs charge can vary, and in some cases may be higher or lower than utility charges. Customers should compare average supply costs when deciding whether to purchase energy supply from and ESCO. Central Hudson posts the 12-month rolling average for electricity and natural gas supply so that customers may make informed decisions. In all cases, Central Hudson continues to provide delivery services, no matter where customers purchase their energy supply.

Q: Are you increasing bills to help pay for damaging storms?

The bill increases are due to higher market prices for energy and are unrelated to storm restoration costs.