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April 18, 2018
For Release: Immediately
Central Hudson, Parties Submit Joint Proposal for New Rate Plan 

Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., the Staff of the New York State Department of Public Service and several parties to the energy company's rate proceeding signed and filed a proposed agreement on future utility investments and operations. "The Joint Proposal was developed after months of extensive negotiations with the Department of Public Service Staff, consumer advocates, local community groups and other stakeholders for the benefit of customers, and includes elements to modernize the energy delivery systems, enhance assistance programs, and expand energy efficiency and carbon reduction initiatives," said Michael L. Mosher, President and C.E.O. of Central Hudson. The proposal will be reviewed and considered by the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) and presented for public comment.

The Joint Proposal is a part of the regulatory review process for a new rate plan proposed by Central Hudson in July 2017. The comprehensive filing was made to align utility rates with the projected costs to reliably and safely deliver energy to the region and provide critical customer services.

The Joint Proposal 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, Dutchess County, Pace Energy and Climate Center, the New York Geothermal Energy Association, Acadia Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Utility Intervention Unit of the New York State, and the U.S. Dept. of the Defense representing West Point. The PSC is expected to rule on the Joint Proposal this summer, and may approve, modify or reject any or all of the proposed terms.

The proposed rate plan covers a three-year period beginning July 2018 through June 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.

If approved, total average residential electric bills using 625 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month would increase by 1.33 percent, or less than 5 cents per day, in the first year; 2.99 percent, or less than 11 cents per day, during the second year; and 4.41 percent, or less than 17 cents per day, in the third year. Total average residential natural gas bill using 910 hundred cubic feet (ccf) per year would increase by 2.05 percent, or about 8 cents per day, during the first year; 4.4 percent, or about 18 cents per day, in the second year; and 5.45 percent, or about 24 cents per day, during the third year. These increases are based upon the market supply prices for electricity and natural gas in January 2018. 

Mosher explained that the Joint Proposal seeks to enhance system investments that will improve electric service reliability by replacing aging infrastructure and utilizing technologies to significantly reduce electric service interruptions by automating power flows while bolstering system efficiency to lower customers' energy use; and natural gas service by continuing the replacement of older mains and services to improve the safety and reliability of the natural gas system. The proposal also seeks to bolster the existing tree trimming and vegetation management program to further reduce electric service interruptions caused by trees, the primary cause of power outages, and to upgrade computer systems to improve cybersecurity, enable utilization of new technologies and enhance customer offerings of energy efficient products and services.

Integral to the proposal is an expansion of existing energy efficiency and carbon reduction programs to protect the environment and assist customers in reducing their energy consumption. These include incentives for air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps, and development of programs to promote the use of electric vehicles.  

Safety initiatives include the development of formal training programs for municipal and county first responders, and incentives for customer purchases of home methane detectors. Customer Service programs include elimination of fees for bill payments using credit cards and third-party payment centers, and expanded assistance programs for families facing financial difficulties. The plan also sets required performance metrics for Central Hudson and penalties for non-compliance.

Fixed monthly customer charges for residential electric, residential natural gas and small commercial electric customer classes are proposed to be reduced in increments each year during the term of the agreement. The proposed return on equity is reduced from the current 9 percent to 8.8 percent, and establishes a sharing mechanism with customers for earnings above 9.3 percent.

"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 Mosher. For more information or to view the Joint Proposal, visit www.CentralHudson.com/EvenBetterFuture.

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