Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., the Staff of the New York State Department of Public Service and several parties to the utility’s rate proceeding signed and filed a proposed agreement on the Company’s future energy infrastructure investments, programs and operations that stabilizes electric rates in the first year with a slight decrease for residential customers, helping to aid in pandemic recovery while supporting efforts to meet New York’s climate goals.
“The Joint Proposal was developed after months of extensive discussions with the Department of Public Service Staff, consumer advocates, environmental organizations, local community groups and other stakeholders for the benefit of customers,” said Charles A. Freni, President and C.E.O. of Central Hudson. He explained that the proposal seeks to bolster modernization of the electric, natural gas and information technology systems, reinforce the provision of safe and reliable energy services, enhancing the customer experience and mitigating cyber security risks while accounting for the challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposed rate plan covers a three-year period through June 2024, and utilizes existing regulatory balances to reduce billing impacts for customers during the term of the agreement as well as a reduction in infrastructure investments by postponing certain projects to reduce costs.
The Joint Proposal includes:
- A multi-year rate plan, with a slight decrease in electric rates in the first year during the COVID-19 economic recovery;
- Increased electric bill reductions for income qualified households and expanded access into Central Hudson’s Energy Affordability Program;
- Mitigating the impact of bill increases through bill credits. Bill impacts are further mitigated by the postponement of several capital investment projects.
- Investments to reinforce electric and gas system reliability and resiliency through storm hardening, expanded vegetation management/tree trimming and deployment of new technologies;
- Advancing Climate and Energy Leadership through expanded energy efficiency programs like rebates and incentives on the purchase of ground and air-sourced electric heat pumps, electric vehicle charging initiatives and system investments aimed at reducing emissions.
The Joint Proposal is a part of the regulatory review process for a new rate plan proposed by Central Hudson in 2020. It was agreed to and signed by Central Hudson, the Staff of the Department of Public Service, and several other parties to the case including Multiple Intervenors; the Public Utility Law Project of New York, Inc.; the Utility Intervention Unit of the Department of State, Division of Consumer Protection; Alliance for a Green Economy; Dutchess County; New York Power Authority; New York Geothermal Energy Organization; Family Energy, Inc; Marathon Power LLC; and M&R Energy Resources Corporation. The PSC is expected to rule on the Joint Proposal this fall, and may approve, modify or reject any or all of the proposed terms.
“Recognizing the financial challenges faced by many of our residential and business customers, the proposed three-year plan seeks to provide immediate relief and modest increases once economic recovery is more fully underway,” said Freni.
If approved, total average residential electric bills using 640 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month would decrease by .25 percent in the first year; increase by 1.3 percent, or $1.72 per month, during the second year; and 1.4 percent, or approximately $1.82, in the third year. Total average residential natural gas bill using 870 cubic feet (ccf) per year would increase by 1.2 percent, or about $1.64 per month, during the first year; 1.6 percent, or about $2.17 per month, in the second year; and 1.1 percent, or about $1.50, during the third year. These increases are based upon the market supply prices for electricity and natural gas in July 2021.
“This plan, which has the support of the Staff of the Department of Public Service and many of the parties to these proceedings, would allow Central Hudson to safely and reliably serve our customers by modernizing the energy systems, improving energy efficiency and expanding customer assistance programs,” said Freni. For more information or to view the Joint Proposal, visit https://www.cenhud.com/empowering-whats-next.