During the current pandemic, customers of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. are reminded that the utility company is operating as an essential business, and is ready to respond to urgent matters and emergencies.
“We are committed to supporting our customers during this challenging time,” said President and C.E.O. Charles A. Freni. “Customers are encouraged to contact us in the event of an electrical or natural gas emergency, such as reporting a natural gas odor or for electrical issues that require immediate attention,” he said. “Our responders are equipped with personal protection equipment to keep our customers and themselves safe should they need to enter a home or building. For the safety and security of our communities, it is important that customers continue call us for their urgent needs.”
Freni explained that while the utility will respond to any and all emergencies, customers are asked to please postpone any non-urgent work until health officials lift current restrictions. “We want to balance our resources so that utility personnel is available to safely maintain the electric and natural gas systems that our customers, perhaps now more than ever, depend upon, and attend to emergencies should they arise,” he said.
Additional Customer Support
Freni explained that Central Hudson has temporarily suspended field collections-related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers who have concerns about bill payment or other Central Hudson services are encouraged to reach out using Central Hudson’s online “web chat” feature, via email through the “Contact Us” page on the website, or by phone at 845-452-2700. For payment assistance options, visit www.CentralHudson.com/account-resources/assistance-programs/.
Employee, Public Safety
“We’re also focused the safety of our employees and the public so that we can all remain healthy and productive, and we follow business continuity plans to continue delivering utility services during crises and emergencies. As well, we are doing our part to help slow or stop the spread of the Corona virus,” said Freni.
“When contacting us regarding an emergency, please tell us if the household or building is affected by the virus or if members of the household are ill so we are properly prepared,” said Freni.
“To further minimize the spread of COVID-19 to our employees and customers, we have suspended indoor meter readings,” said Freni. “We are offering these customers the option to provide their own meter readings to avoid estimates.” Central Hudson will reach out to affected customers as to the best time to submit their meter readings, if they so choose. Information on how to do so is available at www.CentralHudson.com/Forms/meterreading/.
Other steps the utility is undertaking to reduce exposure and protect customers includes:
- Decentralizing many functions to allow for physical separation, or “social distancing,” of workers who report to a utility office/facility or perform field work.
- Assigning most office employees to work remotely as able, while reassigning duties for others according to need.
- Restricting business travel and in-person meetings, and encouraging web and phone conferencing when possible.
- Instructing employees to follow Center for Disease Control guidance on maintaining a safe distance of six feet from others, wearing masks when self-distancing cannot be assured and using personal protection equipment when attending to emergencies inside homes or buildings.
- Coordinating with contractors and vendors to meet required actions and safeguards.
“We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as we focus on maintaining safe and reliable service during this pandemic. Our goal is to protect our employees and customers while continuing to serve our communities” said Freni.
For more information on the Coronavirus, visit the New York State Dept. of Health at www.Health.ny.gov. Central Hudson has also posted a Questions and Answer page on how the utility is addressing the Coronavirus on its website at www.CentralHudson.com
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