By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
After several months of volatile utility prices, Central Hudson claims electricity rates have declined by 55% in May.
“Central Hudson’s residential price for electric supply has declined significantly from 13.6 cents per kilowatt hour in April to 6.12 cents per kilowatt hour, effective May 11,” according to a statement from the company.
Natural gas prices also dropped from 97.1 cents per hundred-cubic-feet in April to 64 cents per hundred-cubic-feet in May, effective May 1.
The fluctuating rates are due to volatility in the energy markets, both regionally and globally, according to the company.
Rising and falling prices could continue over the next few months as market conditions evolve.
“This, coupled with the potential of increased demand during the summer, could have an impact on electric supply prices in the coming months,” according to the statement.
Supply prices for both electricity and natural gas rose substantially early this year due to a number of factors, according to Central Hudson, including increased domestic demand due to a colder winter, constrained domestic pipeline capacity and increased global demand for natural gas.
Central Hudson is also currently the focus of an investigation by the state Department of Public Service into the company’s billing practices that have led to billing errors over the past few months, according to Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, who requested the investigation.
Ryan held a hearing May 3 in Kingston, along with state Sen. Michelle Hinchey, D-46, to collect testimony from area residents who have been impacted by Central Hudson’s billing practices.
Hundreds of local residents have filed complaints about billing as some utility customers saw their monthly bills increase by two- and three-fold in recent months.