Elected officials have called on state regulators to deny a 20 percent rate increase for Hudson Valley Water Company, citing failure to comply with recommendations from a 2020 investigation.
In their request for denial, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, state Senator Michelle Hinchey and Assemblyman Kevin Cahill also sent 20 new comments from a hearing about the company held June 23 at Woodstock Elementary School.
Hudson Valley Water company serves homes in West Hurley, Pine Hill, Boiceville, Rosendale and Mount Marion.
Customers complained about having to buy bottled water, dealing with unreachable customer support, frequent outages and being threatened with shut-off.
“As Ulster County Executive, I will use my office to advocate on behalf of residents and hold utility companies accountable for their business practices,” Ryan said in a statement. “Ulster County residents have a right to clean drinking water and responsive customer service, and we cannot allow Hudson Valley Water Company to get paid more while delaying on delivering essential needs.”
Hinchey agreed. “We stand in opposition to this rate increase for Hudson Valley Water Company, which, over the course of several decades, has made no effort to provide safe and reliable water service to our community members,” she said. “No customer should bear the financial burden of fixing Hudson Valley Water Company’s self-inflicted service failures. As a state, we have enshrined the right to clean water in our Constitution. It is now incumbent upon us as stewards of that document to ensure that all New Yorkers have clean drinking water and to hold bad actors like Mr. Fuller accountable for his negligence and dereliction of responsibility.”
Hinchey has written several pieces of legislation to address private water companies, including the Small Water Utility Transparency Act, which increases fines for violations and provides the Public Service Commission, Department of Environmental Conservation and state Comptroller’s Office with greater auditing authority.
Cahill said it is clear from the June 23 hearing that Hudson Valley Water Company has not made the investment in infrastructure necessary to justify the rate increase.
“In addition to calling for a rejection of this burdensome hike, my office along with County Executive Ryan’s, Senator Hinchey’s and the Public Utility Law Project will continue to work with PSC to ensure Hudson Valley Water Company is held accountable,” Cahill said.