PULP Tells Central Hudson ‘No Treat’ This Halloween
The Public Utility Law Project (PULP) is doing its part to keep New York energy rates fair. On October 31, PULP filed a motion to stop the Central Hudson from raising electric charges. Their Halloween filing comes months after the utility asked to hike delivery charges. Many customers worry rate hikes will make their bills too high to pay. Even worse, Central Hudson asked for the hike even though it hasn’t resolved months of billing issues. Let’s dig into the story and see why PULP filed its motion to stop the Central Hudson rate hike.
Central Hudson Asks for Rate Hike
Earlier this year, Central Hudson asked the NY PSC to raise its delivery charges for all customers. According to Hudson Valley One the increase included a 16% hike for electricity and 19% for gas. For the typical residential customer, the rate hike comes out to an extra $30 or more per month.
Mid Hudson News reported that the rate hike is needed to fund some major upgrades. This includes electric substations and natural gas pipelines. These upgrades would help stand up to severe weather and also help the state meet its green energy requirements.
NY Electric Utility Billing Issues
But, Central Hudson was one of several utilities that sent error-riddled bills to customers a few years ago. They then fumbled at fixing it. The Times Union reported customers complaints to the NY Public Service Commission about Central Hudson bills started in September, 2021.
Since then, customers sent the PSC more than 4,300 complaints. And many of these complaints have still gone unresolved. As a result, when the utility asked for their rate hike, their customers reacted angrily and loudly. Mid Hudson News quoted Congressman Pat Ryan as saying: “absolutely unacceptable for Central Hudson to raise costs … especially until it fixes every one of its billing issues.”
Rate Hike Meetings Inspire PULP Action
Naturally, angry customers flocked to recent public hearings about the increased rates. Daily Freeman reported on a public hearing held in October. In Kingston, NY, PSC officials heard 45 people describe their experience with the utility’s billing mistakes. Some claimed their bills ballooned to thousands of dollars. Others said they got multiple bills or no bills at all for months. And worst of all, many customers were unable to work with customer service to sort things out.
Listening to these people speak at hearings helped PULP decide to take direct action against Central Hudson. In addition to PULP’s motion, Central Hudson is the subject of three ongoing DPS cases.
To be sure, this story will continue to evolve over quite some time. So we’ll be sure to track how it affects Central Hudson electricity customers and their power to choose.
For more on this story and other NY electricity news, visit us at https://www.nyenergyratings.com.