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Our Modernization Plan » Central Hudson » Our Modernization Plan

State Regulators Approve Three-Year Rate Plan for Central Hudson

» Order establishing new rate plan

The New York State Public Service Commission approved a new, three-year rate plan for Central Hudson that supports our ongoing investments in modernizing the electric and natural gas delivery systems, provides customer service enhancements and offers programs to benefit the environment. This approval culminates an 11-month review process by regulators and independent parties to establish a new rate plan.

The approved rate plan covers a three-year period beginning July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2021, and utilizes existing regulatory balances to offset billing impacts for customers during the term of the agreement, as well as projected reductions in federal income tax obligations under the new federal tax plan.

The new rate plan enhances system investments that will improve electric service reliability by replacing aging infrastructure, bolstering tree trimming and vegetation management programs and utilizing technologies to reduce electric service interruptions. New equipment will be employed to boost system efficiency to lower customers' energy use. Investments in the natural gas system will improve safety and reliability by replacing older mains and services on an accelerated basis. The proposal also seeks to upgrade computer systems to improve cybersecurity and enable utilization of new technologies.

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New technologies enable electric systems to operate more efficiently so that customers use less energy to power their homes and businesses and also reduce the incidence and/or duration of power service interruptions during damaging storms. Central Hudson is investing in these technologies as we replace aging equipment to modernize the electric system that powers the Hudson Valley.
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Trees are the number one cause of power outages, so Central Hudson maintains clearance between trees and electric lines through a regularly scheduled program of inspection and trimming. We are now proposing to clear vegetation more frequently in order to further reduce the potential for electric service interruptions.

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Central Hudson offers a suite of energy efficiency programs, including incentives for high efficiency LED lighting and heating/cooling systems. We're also introducing new carbon reduction programs that are up to four times more cost effective in reducing carbon emissions, and we are proposing to provide special incentives to customers who install highly efficient heat pumps.
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Critically needed upgrades to our computer systems will help our representatives access information and conduct transactions faster. Our customers are also increasing their reliance on computers, tablets and smart phones for information and to conduct transactions, and so we are proposing to expand online and digital services, including improved mobile applications, no-fee payment by credit card and energy assistance information tailored to individual accounts. Increased cybersecurity measures will also protect private customer information and sensitive grid data.
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Central Hudson has more than tripled the rate at which older natural gas lines are replaced in order to improve the safety and reliability of the region's natural gas system and to reduce future maintenance costs. This year, we plan to replace more than 14 miles of mains and services in several communities with new pipelines made of polyethylene, which is extremely durable and far less susceptible to environmental conditions.
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Central Hudson offers assistance to families and individuals in need with payment assistance options, advice on energy management and referrals to state and federal programs. We work with our customers one-on-one to develop an individualized plan based on their circumstances. This year we are also providing enhanced bill discounts to income-qualified families as part of a new program enacted by state regulators.
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The electric system is changing, as more customers connect solar and other sources of localized generation to the grid. This means that power now often flows two ways, which requires fundamental design upgrades. We're investing in our system so that it can better support smaller renewable energy installations, and at the same time accommodate the future of increased electric car charging. It's all a part of our forward thinking as we transition to a more sustainable future.
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At Central Hudson, we take pride in our efforts to preserve the unique and natural features of the Hudson Valley for all to enjoy. As a part of that commitment, for example, we are conducting an environmental cleanup of the site of a former manufactured gas plant on Poughkeepsie's waterfront, the last of several such sites in the region that produced gas from the late 1800s through the turn of the century.

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