Rally calls for utility debt to be forgiven

Posted 5/18/22

On Friday, May 13, Hudson Valley community leaders united in a push for energy bill debt to be forgiven, and for Central Hudson to share the cost. They also voiced the need to stop the Central Hudson …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Rally calls for utility debt to be forgiven

Posted

On Friday, May 13, Hudson Valley community leaders united in a push for energy bill debt to be forgiven, and for Central Hudson to share the cost. They also voiced the need to stop the Central Hudson delivery rate hike scheduled for July. The delivery rate hike has already been approved by New York’s Department of Public Service.

Festive marching band-style music from Tin Horn Uprising and Rosendale Improvement Association Brass Band & Social Club opened up the event. A puppet show by Redwing Blackbird Theater Rosendale followed, which recapped issues that Central Hudson is under investigation for- including questionable billing practices.

Speakers focused on structural inequalities, including Central Hudson’s bill effects on immigrant and single-family households, as well as Central Hudson’s leadership in a fossil fuel misinformation campaign to undermine NY’s state climate policy, and the planned July increase for Central Hudson’s delivery charges.

Problematic utility issues were spoken about by representatives of local and regional organizations including Communities for Local Power (host of the event), A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Center, Celebrate845, Citizen Action- Hudson Valley Chapter, Energy Democracy Alliance, For the Many, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh, Kingston Emergency Food Collaborative, Mid-Hudson Valley Democratic Socialists of America, New Yorkers for Clean Power, North American Climate, Conservation and Environment, Planned Parenthood of Greater NY Action Fund, Renewable Newburgh, Rise Up Kingston, Ulster Activists, Ulster Immigrant Defense Network & others. Technical support and livestreaming was provided by Radio Kingston.

“We’re taking it on together… the shareholders getting a guaranteed 9% profit? Forget about it! I want to give a shoutout to all of our immigrant friends who are scared. Who knows when ICE might show up. Let’s think about the people on the bottom of the totem pole. The people on the bottom of the ladder. It’s not just immigrants– it’s people among us. People of color, generally. Let’s remember those people and let’s stand up for them”.- Daniel Woodham, Ulster Immigrant Defense Network.

The state moratorium preventing New Yorkers’ electricity from being shut off due to non-payment expired in December, 2021. More than 48,000 of Central Hudson’s residential customers and 7,000 businesses face power shutoffs. Central Hudson is currently under various investigations for their billing, rate hikes, and handling of the winter storm that led to power outages in February 2022. At the state level, utility companies are under scrutiny for exploitative practices. Friday’s event called for two actions (in the form of petitions that people can sign)– Governor Hochul and the Public Service Commission to make for-profit utilities pay for debt relief, not the ratepayers. Secondly, there was a call to stop the Central Hudson delivery rate increase, scheduled and approved for this July. For more info, and to sign the petition, please visit communitiesforlocalpower.org.

“We’re here today because people are fed up, and something must be done about Central Hudson’s exploitative practices,” said Jess Mullen, Communities for Local Power. “It must fall on company shareholders, not on ratepayers – us and our neighbors, to fix this widespread issue.”

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here