Assemblymember Cahill and Local Advocates Hold Back Central Hudson

Public Service Commission approves final rate plan reducing fixed charges and scales back proposed increase
June 15, 2018

Albany, NY – Assemblymember Kevin Cahill, (D- Ulster, Dutchess) offered the following statement with regard to the approval by the Public Service Commission of the agreement concerning the rate request by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Company’s (Central Hudson).

“When Central Hudson first submitted their rate plan including a nearly 20 percent increase in delivery charges, customers were rightfully outraged. The work done by local advocacy groups such as Citizens for Local Power led by Jen Metzger, the Public Utility Law Project and Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson assured that the company was brought to the table to negotiate a reasonable package that will not put the costs of routine upgrades on the backs of customers. Although, I question whether any increase in rates are in the best interest for consumers, the approval is far better than what Central Hudson sought to impose on their customers. I am particularly proud of the work done through my office, Jen Metzger and Citizens for Local Power, PULP and Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson to actually reduce Central Hudson’s fixed charges. These assessments that have no correlation to an individual’s usage have for too long unfairly targeted working people in our community who have no recourse to avoid or minimize the charge,” stated Assemblymember Cahill.

In addition to submitting written testimony, filing petitions and organizing local opposition, many of the groups also served as parties to the final proceedings ensuring that ratepayers had a seat at negotiations which led to this final settlement.

When asked about the ratification, Citizens for Local Power Director Jen Metzger, whose organization led the call for decreases in Central Hudson’s fixed charges added “The total reduction in the fixed monthly customer charge of 19% over three years is a step in the right direction. Utility bills will now be more closely tied to how much power customers actually use, which is a fairer way to design rates and better encourage energy conservation and efficiency."

Richard Berkley, Executive Director of the Public Utility Law Project of New York stated, “The Public Service Commission upheld the Central Hudson rate case settlement, a progressive agreement that advances the State’s and Hudson Valley’s environmental and energy efficiency goals while supporting reliability and safety investments by the company. Affordability is a major concern across New York State. The strong partnership among state and local elected officials, Hudson Valley residents, consumer protection advocates, in concert with DPS Staff and the Company, were critical to reaching a good result for residents. For low- and fixed- income households, the disabled and returning veterans, this settlement avoids rate shock and soaring bills, and holds down increases that could add to the residents’ burdens.”

Jonathan Bix, Executive Director of Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson said, “The Public Service Commission is to be applauded for approving a proposal with important gains for low-income customers and the environment compared to Central Hudson's original proposal. Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson is proud to have worked with Assemblymember Cahill, the Public Utility Law Project, and Citizens for Local Power to have achieved this result."

“Our office was able to partner with a strong coalition to save ratepayers millions of dollars and reach this final settlement. The efforts throughout this process showcase what can be done when the community bands together to get involved in administrative proceedings. The impact of the advocacy by Jen Metzger and Citizens for Local Power, Richard Berkley and his team at Public Utility Law Project and Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson cannot be overstated and our constituents are indebted to their efforts,” concluded Mr. Cahill.