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 January 8, 2018

For Release: Immediately

Central Hudson Customer Alert: Protect Your Account Information
Resulting Winter Utility Bills Will Reflect Increased Energy Usage

(Poughkeepsie, NY) Frigid temperatures and biting winds resulted in record amounts of natural gas being consumed by Central Hudson customers to stay warm during the intense weekend cold snap  – and breaking usage records on two consecutive days.

On Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, customers used a record amount of natural gas: 137,498 thousand cubic feet (MCF) across the eight counties served by Central Hudson; this amount surpassed the prior usage record of 136,709 MCF set on Feb. 13, 2016.  Then on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, customers set a second record in as many days, using 141,183 MCF to heat their homes and businesses in response to the extreme winter weather conditions.

Heating typically accounts for as much as half of home energy use, as extremely cold weather impacts energy bills in two ways:

  • Energy usage rises in response to the cold weather.
  • Widespread energy demand increases, which in turn tends to raise gas and electric supply costs due to market supply/demand dynamics. Unlike Central Hudson's delivery rates, which are fixed, regulated and do not fluctuate with seasonal temperature changes, market-based electricity and natural gas supply prices do tend to increase when widespread demand increases and supplies become constrained. Although those supply costs are collected through Central Hudson bill payments, the supply cost portion is paid to the electric and natural gas suppliers. Central Hudson does not profit on the supply portion of a customer’s bill; that portion is paid directly to the natural gas or electric supplier.

 

There are ways to manage higher-than-usual seasonal energy bills:

  • Sign up for Budget Billing for a consistent monthly amount.
  • Investigate grants that help income-eligible residents pay for heating costs, e.g. customers who receive a HEAP benefit are now also eligible for Central Hudson’s Bill Discount Program.
  • Explore Central Hudson’s variety of other payment assistance programs.
  • Research the many fixed price offerings available from qualified Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) on the New York State Power to Choose website. While fixed-rate options may not necessarily result in the lowest given supply price during any season, they can help to avoid the risk of sudden, weather-driven supply price increases.

Low- and no-cost efficiency measures to consider include:

  • Lower thermostats by a few degrees and more when no one is home.
  • Insulate ducts and hot water pipes where they run through uninsulated areas, such as crawl spaces, and repair leaks in the duct system;
  • Add insulation to the attic;
  • Turn down thermostats (each degree saves up to 3 percent on energy use);
  • Keep radiators and heating ducts clear of furniture to allow heat to circulate freely; and/or
  • Seal air leaks with weather stripping and caulk, which can save up to 10 percent on the use of heating fuels.

Central Hudson also offers the following important winter safety tips: 

  • Never use a stove, an outdoor grill or any outdoor heating appliance to heat a home. Doing so creates serious fire and carbon monoxide hazards.
  • Operate generators outside only, never inside or in a garage or basement. Improperly operating generators indoors is a common-yet-easily-avoidable cause of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Keep flammable materials, such as curtains and papers, away from space heaters. Never leave on a space heater when no one is present. (Space heaters cause one-third of home heating fires and 80 percent of home heating fire deaths.)
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and clear of obstructions.
  • Smell natural gas? Stop what you're doing. Go outside immediately, and call 911 or Central Hudson’s gas odor hotline at 1-800-942-8274.

 

Follow Central Hudson on Facebook and Twitter for important notifications and useful information. Also be sure to sign up for text message alerts and to use the outage reporting and update tools at CentralHudson.com/Storms.

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