Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson (D-104) is praising the Public Service Commission (PSC) for the report it released today, documenting the deeply troubled launch of Central Hudson’s new, multi-million-dollar billing system. Among its many findings, the report found the utility company in violation of Public Service Law due to improper billing practices.
Jacobson said, “As its customers have known all along, the new billing system Central Hudson implemented in late 2021 is an unmitigated disaster. Central Hudson owes its affected customers more than an apology. It owes them financial compensation for months of uncertainty and frustration.
“Over the last year, my office has received a steady stream of calls and emails from constituents confused and upset about their Central Hudson bills. These ongoing problems range from months of no billing at all to exorbitantly high estimated bills that have no correlation to actual usage.
“That’s why, earlier this year,” Jacobson continued, “I introduced legislation limiting a utility company’s ability to issue estimated bills. (A.10511). Now that this report is out, I look forward to protecting utility customers across New York by seeing it become law in the next legislative session.
“The PSC report shows not only that Central Hudson knowingly launched a flawed billing system, but that its leadership put the burden of solving the system’s errors on poorly trained customer service representatives while publicly minimizing the true scope of the problem.
“I look forward to Central Hudson taking full responsibility for its mistakes, and I thank my colleagues who joined me in standing up for consumer rights, including Rep. Pat Ryan, Assemblymember Kevin Cahill, and State Senator Michelle Hinchey who sponsored my estimated billing legislation in the Senate,” concluded Jacobson.
According to the PSC, “Based upon today’s decision, Central Hudson has 30 days to demonstrate why the Commission should not commence a civil penalty action and/or an administrative penalty proceeding for Central Hudson's apparent violations of the Public Service.
Law, regulations, and Commission orders, and why the Commission should not initiate a prudence proceeding to investigate the propriety of costs incurred by Central Hudson related to implementation of the system. The company is also ordered to submit a plan to eliminate bi- monthly estimates and to evaluate potential impacts of such a change on customers.”