The New York State Public Service Commission approved a new three-year rate plan for Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. that will fund the Company’s future energy infrastructure investments, programs and operations while supporting efforts to meet New York’s climate goals. The new plan, which goes into effect on December 1, also stabilizes electric delivery rates in the first year with a slight decrease for residential customers, helping to aid in the pandemic recovery.
“The approved rate plan is the result of months of extensive discussions with the Department of Public Service Staff, consumer advocates, environmental organizations, local community groups and other stakeholders,” said Charles A. Freni, President and C.E.O. of Central Hudson. “This new rate plan will allow us to modernize our electric, natural gas and information technology systems, reinforce the provision of safe and reliable energy services and further protect against cyber security risks while helping our customers with the challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The rate plan covers a three-year period through June 2024 and utilizes existing regulatory balances and additional expense management to reduce bill impacts on customers during the term of the agreement along with a reduction in infrastructure investments by postponing certain projects to reduce costs.
The rate plan includes:
- A modest decrease in electric delivery rates in the first year during the COVID-19 economic recovery;
- Larger electric bill reductions for income qualified households and expanded access into Central Hudson’s Energy Affordability Program;
- Reducing bill impacts through bill credits and the postponement of several capital investment projects;
- Reducing expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Investments to reinforce electric and gas system reliability and resiliency through system storm hardening, expanded vegetation management/tree trimming and deployment of new technologies; and
- 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.
Under the approved delivery rate plan and based on market prices for electricity and natural gas as of July 2021, total average residential electric bills using 640 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month will 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 will 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. Actual bill impacts may vary as energy supply prices are subject to market conditions.
The approved plan is the final step in the regulatory review process begun by Central Hudson in 2020. A Joint Proposal was agreed to in August 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.
“New York is in the midst of a transition to a cleaner energy system. With this new rate plan in place, Central Hudson will continue to be a leader in the transition while providing safe, reliable and affordable service to homes and businesses in the Mid-Hudson Valley,” said Freni. The Rate order, when available by the New York State Public Service Commission, can be viewed at www.CentralHudson.com.