Central Hudson customers should expect their monthly utility bills to rise after state officials adopted a three-year tariff agreement on Thursday afternoon for the Valley’s utility company. ‘Hudson.
The State Civil Service Commission voted Thursday afternoon to approve a three-year tariff plan for Poughkeepsie-based Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp..
Electricity prices will decrease slightly by about 0.25%, or an average of 33 cents per month for customers in the first year, or until June 30, 2022, in households with an average electricity consumption of 640 kilowatt-hours per month, Central Hudson spokesperson John Maserjian said. Friday.
“Normally, a new plan would take effect when the old plan expires, but there have been delays in the process,” Maserjian said. “COVID-19 has had an impact on how this new plan was filed and developed. “
Average residential electricity bill rates will increase by $ 3.54, or approximately $ 1.72 per bill, per month starting July 1, and then increase by an additional $ 1.82 per bill starting July 1. 2023.
The plan will take effect retroactively on July 1, 2021 and expire on June 30, 2024. The previous pricing plan expired on June 30.
The company filed the rate increase proposal in August 2020.
“The approved tariff plan is the result of months of in-depth discussions with civil service ministry staff, consumer advocates, environmental organizations, local community groups and other stakeholders,” said the president and CEO. Central Hudson General Charles A. Freni in a statement. “This new tariff plan will allow us to modernize our electricity, natural gas and information technology systems, strengthen the provision of secure and reliable energy services and better protect ourselves against cybersecurity risks while helping our customers to meet the challenges facing the COVID-19 pandemic. . “
Households using natural gas will experience an average monthly increase of approximately $ 5.31 over the next three years, with an initial increase of $ 1.64 through June 30, 2022; Additional $ 2.17 as of July 1, 2022; and increases of $ 1.50 per month in the last year of the plan through June 30, 2024.
Estimates of the rate hike assume that the average household uses 870 ccf, or one hundred cubic feet of natural gas per year, Maserjian said.
Central Hudson’s electricity delivery revenue will decrease by $ 1.1 million in the first year and increase by $ 8 million and $ 8.7 million in the second and third years, respectively, according to the report. the Commission.
The increases in gas delivery revenues will be $ 3.9 million in the first year, $ 3.9 million in the second year and $ 4 million in the third year.
The new approved rate plan will affect Central Hudson’s delivery charges used to operate and maintain the company’s energy delivery system, and is unrelated to supply chain issues and increased market costs for fuel oil, natural gas and propane.
The company’s rate hikes were proposed last summer – ahead of inflated gasoline, diesel and other fuel costs – and are unrelated to planned market increases underway, Maserjian said.
“This pricing plan focuses only on these delivery rates, and the supply charges are market-based,” he added. “These prices will continue to vary depending on market conditions.”
Home heating oil is expected to increase by 40% and propane by about 50%, according to a report released last month by the US Energy Information Administration, which will impact business and household budgets.
“There is a global increase in demand for energy, supplies and products, and this is what is causing many of the inflationary pressures that we see on the costs of all goods,” Maserjian said. . “These higher prices will always be lower than in 2006, 2007 and 2008, for example.”
A recent report from the State Civil Service Commission estimates that natural gas costs will increase by 20% and electricity will increase by 13% in the winter season 2021-22 compared to 2020-21.
“The prices from the previous season were exceptionally low,” Maserjian said of last winter’s prices. “
Central Hudson initially proposed delivery rates designed to produce an annual increase in electricity delivery revenue of approximately $ 32.8 million and an annual increase in gas delivery revenue of $ 14.4 million, resulting in an increase in base delivery revenue of 8.4% and 12.1%, respectively, or total bill increases for an average residential customer of 6.2% and 8%, depending on the commission
The company will postpone certain capital projects to replace or strengthen aging infrastructure, including utility poles, cables and pipelines to bring energy to consumers.
“We will continue to improve and strengthen the energy infrastructure both for resilience to increasingly severe storms and also to accommodate the many renewable energy systems that are being built in the region and to allow them to interconnect. to the local network, ”Maserjian said. . “We are working as quickly as possible, but also, we have to do it inexpensively. “
The company will invest $ 31 million in bill rebates to qualifying low-income customers over the next three years.
The commission approved and adopted a three-year pricing plan for Central Hudson customers in a joint proposal signed by the utility company, department staff, and environmental and business groups.
“The joint proposal provides sufficient funding for businesses to maintain safe and reliable service, while moderating pricing impacts over the life of the pricing plan and mitigating impacts on taxpayers suffering from the financial consequences of the pandemic,” said the President of the Commission, Rory M. Christian. in a report. “The joint proposal is also in line with our national clean energy initiatives, as well as our social and economic policies. This deal is in the public interest and is consistent with New York’s clean energy goals.
The company will pay $ 150 to each household that uses an older, working refrigerator to recycle the high-energy machine in an effort to push consumers to have more energy-efficient appliances.
Central Hudson serves approximately 309,000 electricity customers and 84,000 natural gas customers in Orange, Ulster, Dutchess and Greene counties and parts of Putnam, Sullivan, Columbia and Albany counties, New York suburb north of the Capital Region.