Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, NYS Senator Michelle Hinchey and Assemblymember Kevin Cahill held a public hearing on Tuesday, May 3rd, at Kingston High School which drew over a hundred attendees and more than 45 public comments. Testimony provided at the public hearing will be submitted to the Department of Public Service (DPS) investigation into Central Hudson’s customer information system implementation and resulting billing errors.
Public Service Law §71 allows for the filing of complaints regarding gas and electric service, including quality, price, and the duration of a disruption in service. Under this Section, the Commission investigates complaints from the chief executive officer in which a person or corporation is authorized to manufacture, sell, transmit, or supply electricity or gas for heat, light, or power. Under this section of law, County Executive Ryan used his legal authority to call for an investigation. His March 3rd letter cited Ulster County residents’ concerns ranging from not receiving bills for months, to extremely over-estimated bills, to large automatic withdrawals from customers’ accounts without notice. Since September, at least 11,000 Central Hudson electricity customers have experienced billing problems.
At the State level, Senator Hinchey has called on the Public Service Commission to investigate both Central Hudson’s estimated billing procedure and the utility’s skyrocketing bill hikes and authored legislation (S7579A) to prohibit every utility company in New York from using an estimated billing system.
Central Hudson customers who have been impacted by the implementation of Central Hudson’s new billing system, and who have not been able to resolve their issues with the utility, may submit public comment on the DPS investigation through the online form. It is anticipated that the DPS investigation will go on for several months.
For additional assistance with resolving individual matters, individuals can file a formal complaint with DPS online or by calling 800-342-3377.
Ulster County residents who do not have computer access or a valid email address and could not make it to the public hearing may continue to call 845-443-8888 for assistance with submitting public comment on the investigation.