Nov 25, 2020
Central Hudson Hosts Virtual Service Agency Outreach Forum
Special grants offered to qualified customers through the Good Neighbor Fund

Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. hosted a virtual forum featuring several local service agencies in an effort to share critical information on the assistance programs available to local families during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 60 representatives from state and local organizations like United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, Dutchess Outreach, Ulster County Department of Economic Development, the New York State Department of Public Service and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) attended the online event.

“As we navigate the COVID-19 health crisis, the ability to reach out and help our fellow community members in need is perhaps more important now than at any time in recent history,” Charles A. Freni, President and CEO of Central Hudson said. “I’m proud we were able to bring together so many great minds to discuss the best ways to care for our most vulnerable customers.”

Representatives from Central Hudson discussed a new, state-wide offering available through the utility for low-to-moderate income households that allows them to enroll in energy efficiency programs that include rebates on electric heat pumps, electric heat pump water heaters and more.

Central Hudson’s community outreach team also discussed several of the utility’s payment assistance programs including the Low Income Bill Discount Program, the Good Neighbor Fund, the Veterans Program, the Life Support Equipment Program, Gift Certificates, the Hospitalization Program and the federally funded Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) grants.

Representatives from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) shared information on the 2020-2021 HEAP season that opened on Oct. 2, 2020 for Regular HEAP benefits and on the upcoming Emergency HEAP benefits that will be available starting on Jan. 4, 2021, as well as the Clean & Tune benefit that is available now to assist homeowners in maintaining their primary heating equipment.  Customers can apply at or if over the age of 60 can apply at their local Office for the Aging. 

Speakers from the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, Dutchess Outreach, and Ulster County Department of Economic Development also provided local updates on services available to residents. To close out the day, attendees participated in a virtual roundtable to share information on services they provide to assist vulnerable families. 

“We’re very appreciative of Central Hudson for putting on this forum every year and we’re grateful for the honor of being a part of it,” said Melissa Clark, Senior Director of Community Impact at United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region. “I was very impressed by the speakers from local and state agencies and what they are doing to help our communities.”

Special Good Neighbor Fund Grants Announced

To expand support for vulnerable families during the pandemic, Central Hudson will issue one-time grants of $100 to qualified customers through the Good Neighbor Fund. These special grants will automatically be applied to the bills of eligible customers with past due balances and who do not receive HEAP benefits in one or more of the following groups:

  • Senior Citizens
  • Customers receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Customers enrolled in the Life Support Apparatus Program
  • Customers enrolled in the Extra Security Program

“The Good Neighbor Fund is a last resort grant for customers who have exhausted all other forms of public and private utility assistance,” said Freni. “This program is funded through the generosity of our customers who donate an extra $1-$10 when paying their utility bill and is matched by Central Hudson. In the spirit of that generosity, we have doubled our annual match to $100,000 this year.  We are fortunate and grateful to live in a community that is willing to extend a helping hand to those who need it most.”

 For more information on Central Hudson’s assistance programs

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