Utility Justice Media Coverage

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Central Hudson Agrees to Smaller Rate Hikes, Lower Fixed Charges

April 23, 2018 | By Allison Dunne, WAMC

“Metzger says other provisions include a reduced profit rate and more aggressive energy efficiency targets. Central Hudson would provide incentives for heat pumps and develop programs to promote electric vehicle use. Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, another party to the rate case, declined to sign the proposal for the same reason Metzger described. Several parties to the case did sign. Again, Maserjian.”

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Central Hudson Agrees to Smaller Rate Hikes, Lower Fixed Charges

April 20, 2018 | By Nina Schultzman, Poughkeepsie Journal

“And it’s the first time since the Fortis merger that Central Hudson has agreed to lower its fixed customer charges, flat monthly fees that are part of electric and gas bills no matter how much energy is actually used, Cahill and the organizations said in statements. Those fees ‘disproportionately affect seniors, low-income and low-usage consumers.'”

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Central Hudson Proposes a Lower Fixed Customer Charge

April 19, 2018 | Mid Hudson News

“Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson Executive Director Jonathan Bix maintains it is all about the utility’s bottom line. ‘Ultimately Central Hudson and all private utility companies care about is shareholders’ profits,’ Bix said ‘It’s not about meeting people’s needs for electricity and gas and keeping their lights and heat on, and that is why ultimately we think that our energy system should be a publicly controlled no-for-profit.’”

Photo by Geoffrey Wilson, Poughkeepsie Journal
Central Hudson should lower fixed charges, not raise overall rates

February 1, 2018 | By Jonathan Bix & Jen Metzger, Poughkeepsie Journal

“Another rate hike would force thousands more people to choose between health care and utilities, or food and utilities. It would leave many more households unable to keep their heat and lights on. Due to disparities in wealth by race and gender, Black female-headed households would be particularly affected.”

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Consumer groups urge PSC to block rate hikes

January 18, 2018 | By Larry Rulison, Albany Times Union

“The groups, Citizens for Local Power, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson as well as the Alliance for a Green Economy and Syracuse United Neighbors, want the PSC to especially examine the fixed basic service charge on customer bills that is $17 for a National Grid customer and $24 for Central Hudson and is charged regardless of usage.”

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PSC’s Hearing on Central Hudson’s Proposed Rate Hikes Draws Criticism

October 4, 2017 | By Allison Dunne, WAMC

“‘Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson is against the rate hike because it’s going to increase unaffordability, particularly for low-income people and people of color and lead to many, many more shutoffs, which are going to cause major health crises, lead to people having to make terrible choices between utilities and health care, utilities or food, and so that’s why we’re against the rate hike,’ Bix says.”

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Central Hudson Request for Rate Increases Blasted

October 4, 2017 | Mid-Hudson News Network and Freeman Staff

“‘Working class people, particularly working class people of color, already cannot afford Central Hudson’s rates,” [Bix] said. “Affordability is a matter of life or death. The rate hike will force many people to choose between food and utilities, healthcare and utilities.'”

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Public Hearing Held on Proposed Central Hudson Rate Hike

October 4, 2017 | Mid-Hudson News

“Donna West, a Central Hudson customer, shared her personal experience with high utility costs. ‘I’m forced to leave my home with my children and go somewhere else until I can save up the money to pay Central Hudson,” West said. “I’m asthmatic and I need my machine, but it’s either ‘you pay the bill or you’re dead, we don’t care.’'”

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Central Hudson: Proposed Electric and Gas Rate Hikes Raise Concern

October 3, 2017 | By Geoffrey Wilson, Poughkeepsie Journal

“A proposal that would increase Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. gas and electric rates could be detrimental to low-income families and stunt growth for use of fossil fuel alternatives, area residents say.”

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PSC Issues Findings After Looking Into Central Hudson Practices

September 25, 2017 | By Allison Dunne, WAMC

“The Public Service Commission initiated its investigation into Central Hudson Gas & Electric after complaints from low-income advocacy group Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson. Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson Executive Director Jonathan Bix says his grassroots group, along with the Public Utility Law Project of New York, brought the complaints after the following.”

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Central Hudson Agrees to Change Service Termination Practices

September 16, 2017 | By William J. Kemble, Daily Freeman

“Central Hudson Gas and Electric has agreed to modify procedures for service termination following a state Public Service Commission investigation that found more guidance is needed in how the utility handles customers with unpaid bills.”

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Building Power, Not Shutting It Off

September 22, 2017 | By Caitlin Munchick, CounterPunch

“A year into our campaign, a Central Hudson employee anonymously contacted Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, testifying to the use of racially discriminatory collections practices and the failure to follow the required shutoff procedures. Shortly after receiving that letter, we submitted a petition for a full state investigation into Central Hudson’s harmful and racist business practices.”

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Central Hudson to Change Collection Practices

September 14, 2017 | By Leonard Sparks, Times Herald-Record

“In addition to prioritizing the oldest and largest overdue accounts, Central Hudson agreed to revise training materials for customer service representatives and have employees undergo more training, the PSC said.”

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Central Hudson Agrees to Make Customer Service Improvements

September 15, 2017 | By Larry Rulison, Times Union

“The agreement follows a complaint by a consumer watchdog group called Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson that alleged the utility was not properly dealing with customers in arrears, leading to improper service shut-offs.”

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Life and Death in a Time of Rising Shutoffs

May 13, 2016 | By Caitlin Munchick, CounterPunch

“By organizing and pressuring both Central Hudson and the state’s utility regulator, they seek to end shutoffs in homes where people have medical concerns or children under twelve. They want a world in which poor and working class people do not have to pay upwards of sixteen percent of their income for electricity. This is the People’s Power campaign.”

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Mid Hudson Consumer Concerns

February 12, 2016 | By PBS New York

Jenna Flanagan speaks with a community group that accuses the Mid-Hudson utility, Central Hudson, with unfair collection practices.

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Grassroots Effort Spurred Good Change to Low-Income Energy Policy

June 18, 2016 | By Jonathan Bix, Poughkeepsie Journal

“Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson anchored a committee within the Energy Democracy Alliance (EDA), a statewide energy justice coalition, to organize a grassroots response… Over the rest of 2015, the EDA turned out dozens of working class people to hearings, including in Poughkeepsie, to demand expanded funding and eligibility for energy assistance programs.”

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Low-income Advocates Want More Say In Energy Plan

August 13, 2015 | By Scott Waldman, Politico

“The state Public Service Commission is in the process of remaking the state’s energy grid to make it more efficient and more reliant on renewables. After low-income advocates raised concerns that simply adding renewable sources could drive up energy bills and shut out poor communities, the state began a separate proceeding to ensure they were included in the years-long process.”

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Community Members Voice Concerns About Utility Cut-Offs

September 25, 2015 | By Candace Dunkley, Spectrum News

“‘For folks who aren’t making a lot of money who are on fixed incomes, their utility bills can be up to 40 percent of their bills every month,’ said Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson organizer Spencer Resnick.”

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Advocates Express Cautious Optimism About New Directive Regarding Home Energy Aid 

May 23, 2016 | By William J. Kemble, Daily Freeman

“Advocates for low-income residents say a state Public Service Commission directive to change energy-assistance programs will help reduce the number of gas and electric shut-offs but that there’s still a long way to go to make a significant impact.”

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Central Hudson Gas & Electric Under Scrutiny for Cutting Power

January 22, 2016 | By Candace Dunkley, Spectrum News

“Jonathan Bix, the executive director of the group Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, says Bowen-Griffiths is not alone. Bix says since the end of 2014, members have spoken with more than 2,000 Central Hudson customers and surveyed more than 100. They found that Central Hudson had a pattern of cutting off power for people with medical conditions.”

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Central Hudson subject of state investigation of shut-off practices 

April 20, 2016 | By William J. Kemble, Daily Freeman

“The state Public Service Commission is investigating complaints that Central Hudson has unfairly shut off service to people with medical conditions and has attempted to collect debt from people who don’t owe money.”


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PSC investigates Central Hudson’s bill collection practices

January 16, 2016 | By John Ferro, Poughkeepsie Journal

“The complaint alleges Central Hudson transferred debts unlawfully, failed to negotiate deferred payment agreements in good faith, did not follow proper procedures when shutting off power and engaged in racial discrimination.”

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When Energy Bills Skyrocketed, These Neighbors Banded Together to Keep the Lights On—And Won

October 19, 2015 | By Laura Gottesdiener, Yes! Magazine

“Broad-shouldered and with a soft expression, West and her three children have been living in the dark for months. They charge their cell phones at the laundromat. West and her daughter, Princess, who are both asthmatic, perform their nebulizer treatments at a neighbor’s home. In the early mornings, West heats water on the stove so the kids can take lukewarm baths before school. Princess even invented a song to cut through the darkness…”

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Faced With Exorbitant Utility Costs, New York State Residents Fight To Keep The Lights On 

October 26, 2015 | By Laura Gottesdiener, In These Times

“The problem was that Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., the monopoly energy provider for the city of Poughkeepsie and two counties in the Mid-Hudson River Valley, claimed that West owed an outstanding balance of $12,882.26. It was a figure so shocking to West, who had been paying the utility company between $100 and $200 each month consistently over the last 16 years, that she carried around her bill in her purse. “I have to show people my bill because they don’t believe me,” she said.”

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Low-income customers need far more help with utility bills 

November 5, 2015 | By Spencer Resnick, Poughkeepsie Journal

“We’re not alone in recognizing this. This year, the Public Service Commission (the government regulator of utilities) opened a proceeding on utility affordability. The PSC recognizes the crisis and will be setting a standard program to discount the bills of low-income utility customers.”

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Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson: An Interview

April 7, 2015 | By Kafui Attoh, The Murphy Institute of CUNY School of Professional Studies

“Something exciting is happening in Poughkeepsie. In the last two years a group of local residents — under the name “Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson” (NLMH) — have been organizing to fight for the rights of the city’s low-income residents.  For those whose knowledge of Poughkeepsie begins and ends with “The French Connection,” Poughkeepsie is not unlike many postindustrial cities in upstate NY — defined by decades of capital flight, city center decline and entrenched poverty. In this context, the emergence of NLMH has been an important development.”

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Protesting Electric Bills, Residents March on Central Hudson Headquarters

April 6, 2015 | By Mid Hudson News Network, Daily Freeman

“Zakiyyah Salahuddin, also of Poughkeepsie, was equally upset. ‘We are being robbed in our community,’ said Salahuddin. ‘We are being given bills that are unaccounted for. When questioned, there is no one that can give us answers as to why our bills are so blown up.'”

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“Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson” Organized a Mock Funeral in Poughkeepsie to Protest Rate Hike

July 2, 2015 | By Fernandez, Hudson Valley News Network

“The first Central Hudson rate increase in a 3-year plan of consecutive rate hikes went into effect on July 1st. The Poughkeepsie organization, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, is concerned that the human cost of increasing power rates will overwhelm low-income households. To illustrate those concerns, the organization staged a mock funeral march along Main Street and then delivered a coffin bearing the words ‘Shutoffs Kill’ to Central Hudson’s main gate.”

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Much-Needed Infrastructure Upgrades Coming to the Hudson Valley 

March 11, 2015 | By Michael Howard, Spectrum News

“Improvements are set to begin on several Central Hudson systems later this year across the Hudson Valley. Michael Howard reports the company said it could lower customers rates.