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Ulster residents share Central Hudson horror stories

May 05, 2022 1:00 am

Patricia Doxsey is reporting for the Daily Freeman more than 50 people attended the May 4, forum hosted by Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, state Sen. Michelle Hinchey and Assemblymember Kevin Cahill, in response to the growing outcry from Ulster County residents who have experienced billing problems with the utility Central Hudson Gas and Electric. “Frankly … it’s absolutely ridiculous that we even have to be here doing this whatsoever,” Ryan said. He said his office has received thousands of “heartbreaking calls about bank accounts being emptied by Central Hudson’s autopay program, of business owners sent electric bills for tens of thousands of dollars and of residents on fixed incomes who have seen their electric bills skyrocket for no apparent reason. Speaker after speaker during the forum shared stories of being sent bills for outrageous amounts of money, most based on “estimated” bills that, they said, presumed electric usage far in excess of what they had ever used before. “I think it’s intentional,” said Kingston resident Dante Martin. “Stop the pirate billing and stop the nonsense.” Several speakers called the utility’s billing practice “predatory” and called for the energy system to be taken out of the hands of a for-profit company and replaced with a public utility. Ryan said all of the comments recorded during the forum would be submitted to the New York State Public Service Commission for its investigation into Central Hudson’s customer information system implementation and subsequent billing errors. As of early May 4, more than 3,600 comments had been posted on the Public Service Commission portal set up as part of the Central Hudson billing investigation. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.