Central Hudson is advising customers of increases in supply prices for both electricity and natural gas as the region navigates a colder than average winter and as global energy factors come into play, prompting an increase in the demand and price for energy. Supply prices are market-based and not marked-up by Central Hudson.
Contributing to higher commodity prices for electricity and natural gas 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.
- Increase domestic demand for electricity and natural gas as the economy recovers from closures prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Locally, this January featured sustained temperatures that were 11 percent colder than average and 16 percent colder than January 2021. This contributed to driving gas usage up more than 13 percent and electric usage up nearly 6 percent over January 2021,” said Anthony Campagiorni, Senior Vice President of Customer Services and Gas Operations at Central Hudson. “The increased usage, coupled with international and domestic factors, has caused the market price of natural gas and electricity to rise here in our region and around the world. Natural gas has become a global commodity that not only heats our homes but is also heavily relied upon to produce electricity on demand and whenever needed.”
Projected Central Hudson bill impacts for natural gas will be an average increase of about 19%; about 46% for electric bills; and about 29% for combination electric and natural gas bills. These bill increases are temporary and may vary for individual customers depending on energy usage and their billing cycle. For example, customers receiving bills now may see the effect of these increases spread out over their current bill and next month’s bill.
Central Hudson employs hedging measures to help stabilize natural gas and electric supply costs against fluctuating market prices. These measures include contracting for a portion of energy at fixed prices and purchasing gas at pre-season prices and placing it into storage. For this billing period, these hedging measures are saving customers millions of dollars by reducing the impact of market prices for electricity by approximately 28% and natural gas by 30%. Click here to watch a recent video on how severe weather can impact utility bills.
Energy Efficiency and Billing Programs
Customers can help manage energy costs in various ways, such as implementing energy efficiency measures and exploring their billing options.
Low-cost and no-cost efficiency measures homeowners can take to help manage energy costs include:
- Insulating ducts and hot water pipes where they run through uninsulated areas, such as crawl spaces, and repairing leaks in the duct system;
- Adding insulation, particularly in the attic;
- Turning down thermostats (each degree saves up to three percent on energy use);
- Keeping radiators and heating ducts clear of furniture to allow heat to circulate freely; and/or
- Sealing air leaks with weather stripping and caulk, which can save up to 10 percent on the use of heating fuels.
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. A complete description of Central Hudson’s rebates and programs is available at www.CentralHudson.com and clicking on “Save.”
Discounted energy efficiency products with instant savings for Central Hudson customers are available at local participating retailers. Available items include LED bulbs, smart thermostats, advanced power strips, water-saving products and more. For a list of participating retailers visit www.CentralHudson.com, click on the “Save” link at the top of the page, then click on “Residential Incentives.”
To avoid seasonal variations in energy bills, Central Hudson customers may enroll in the Budget Billing program. Budget Billing 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.
Payment assistance options are also available to qualifying customers like the Bill Discount program for income-qualified customers. The federally funded Home Energy Assistant Program (HEAP) grants are now available 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.
Central Hudson’s Clean Energy Marketplace allows customers to save up to 10 percent on their utility bill while also investing in local clean energy projects. Residents and businesses may subscribe by visiting http://CleanEnergyMarket.cenhud.com to purchase a portion of the electricity produced by the project of their choice.
Other programs include Deferred Payment Agreements that help customers catch up by paying a past-due account balance in monthly installments, 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, Learn more about Central Hudson’s assistance programs by visiting www.cenhud.com/account-resources/assistance-programs/.
Customers can contact Central Hudson in a variety of ways, including logging on to http://www.cenhud.com/customer-service/contact-us/ and selecting their preferred form of communication, or by clicking on the green “Chat” tab on the right hand side of the page.
Visit www.CentralHudson.com for more information on winter safety, efficiency incentives, energy saving tips and billing options.
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Electric and natural gas supply prices vary and are market-based. Above and below are supply charges for this month, and historic February supply charges in prior years. As a comparison, 12-month rolling averages for electricity supply is 8.6 cents per kwh and for natural gas supply 52.9 cents per ccf, inclusive of this month’s higher prices.