Hudson Valley Customers that have Central Hudson for their power will most likely see a rate increase come July 1, 2018. A new agreement was reached on April 18, according to a report in the Saugerties Times. Central Hudson must get gas and electric increases approved by the Public Service Commission. The utility has been trying to get a rate increase since June of 2017. The new proposal, being billed as a joint proposal, requires a 30-day public comment period before a vote is held by the Public Service Commission.

The proposed rate increase will take effect over three years. By the end of that time, average rates will rise by 5.45 percent, which turns about to be about 24 cents per day. That is more than the 3.7 percent rate increase that Central Hudson was looking for. The rate increase will be offset by a reduction in a fixed monthly service fee charged to all accounts regardless of their energy consumption. That fee will be lowered to $19.50 from $24. That part of the proposal was something consumer groups have been fighting for. Those groups argue that lower income and older income customers use less electricity.

Central Hudson says the rate hike is needed to offset costs of a series of planned improvements and upgrades, which include replacement of aging poles and wires. They will be replaced with new, more weather-resistant equipment investing in new technology, to help minimize outages. Also, part of the plan is to replace or modernize existing substations. John Maserjian, spokesman for Central Hudson, told the paper some of the infrastructure was in the 1930s and 1940s.

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