A number of international, national and regional forces continue to create volatility from month to month within the energy supply markets. Natural gas prices that went into effect on October 3 decreased significantly from 97.8 cents per hundred-cubic-feet (ccf) in September to 78.8 cents per ccf. The residential price for electric supply will increase from 13.06 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) in September to 16.93 cents per kWh, effective Wednesday, October 12.
Central Hudson purchases electricity and gas from third-party suppliers on behalf of customers. These costs are not marked up and Central Hudson does not profit from them, meaning customers pay the same rates as Central Hudson for the energy they use. Central Hudson recently hosted a live stream event that details the difference between the supply and delivery rates that appear on customers’ bills. Visit www.facebook.com/centralhudson to view the full recording.
“We understand rising supply prices can create confusion and stress surrounding utility bills for our customers and we are working closely with our regulators to find ways to keep them as low as possible,” said Anthony Campagiorni, Senior Vice President of Customer Services and Gas Operations. “We also urge our customers to take advantage of the resources available on our website. We offer a host of assistance programs and billing options that can help customers manage their accounts.”
Leaders and energy experts, from Governor Kathy Hochul to the New York Independent System Operator are warning residents to prepare for elevated energy supply costs throughout the winter months and are also advising residents to take steps to prepare.
Energy Efficiency and Billing Programs
Customers can help manage energy costs in various ways, such as implementing energy efficiency measures and manage bill impacts by 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;
- Beware of using electric space heaters in lieu of a traditional home heating system. Space heaters can present safety hazards, and often require significant amounts of electricity to operate, drastically increasing usage and resulting in higher bills.
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.
Customers may also wish to investigate fixed rate options for electric and natural gas supply offered by Energy Service Companies. Fixed rate options do not necessarily provide the lowest average annual cost but do serve as protection against market volatility and price spikes.
Payment assistance options are also available to qualifying customers. The federally funded Home Energy Assistant Program (HEAP) grants for the 2022-2023 season will be open for income-qualified residents on November 1. HEAP grant recipients also qualify for Central Hudson’s monthly Bill Discount program.
Central Hudson’s Clean Energy Marketplace provides a resource for customers to learn about renewable energy options. Customers can 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/assistance.
Several international, national and regional factors are contributing to this market volatility:
- Locally, the closure of Indian Point last year increased the region’s reliance on natural gas for power generation.
- Central Hudson’s storage inventory remains slightly ahead of plan, however, physical storage inventory levels in the U.S. and Northeast remain lower than last year and below the five-year average ahead of an anticipated cold winter;
- Supply and transportation pipeline constraints in the northeast continue to drive up prices during times of high demand;
- An unplanned outage of a natural gas-fired power generator in eastern New York contributed to higher electric prices regionally;
- Unrest in eastern Europe continues to have a significant impact on energy markets world-wide.
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. Customers also now have the ability to speak to a live agent by using the chat function located on the right-hand side of the home page.
Visit www.CentralHudson.com for more information on winter safety, efficiency incentives, energy saving tips and billing options.
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