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Central Hudson sued in state Supreme Court

Jan 25, 2023 1:00 am

Roger Hannigan Gilson reports for the Times Union that a class action suit against Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corp. was filed January 6, in state Supreme Court. The plaintiffs are seeking damages for the utility's botched roll-out of a new billing system that began in September 2021. Since the new system was implemented, customers have complained about a variety of issues, including missing and late bills, receiving other customer's bills, inaccurate and inflated bill amounts, large automatic withdrawals from checking accounts, not receiving bills for many months, receiving confusing bills, and receiving multiple bills in one month. The lawsuit lays out issues allegedly experienced by six Central Hudson customers located in four counties, but any money awarded would go to any adversely impacted Central Hudson customers. The case accuses the utility of "deceptive business practices." Eileen Abel of Coxsackie is one of the six plaintiffs. The complaint alleges Abel was improperly billed $1,224 for April and May 2022, $1,000 more than normal, and that Central Hudson has not provided a justification or response for the spike and has not credited back the money. A spokesperson for Central Hudson denied any accusation that the utility "unjustly enriched itself." The case was filed by the White Plains-based firm Lowey Dannenberg and it relies heavily on an investigation by the Public Service Commission released last month. That investigation found that Central Hudson was aware of issues when the billing system was launched, but went ahead anyway. More than 8,050 customers were overcharged and more than 30,000 customers accustomed to being billed monthly suddenly had charges for multiple months withdrawn from their bank accounts, according to the investigation. The Public Service Commission has not yet decided what action, if any, to take against Central Hudson. The class action suit seeks refunds and monetary damages for Central Hudson customers as well as attorney's fees and an injunction on the practices alleged in the suit. Central Hudson has until April 25 to respond to the complaint. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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