Many Hudson Valley residents have seen their heating and electric bills double in price. Experts now warn the higher costs may be here to stay.

Last month, Hudson Valley Post reported Central Hudson warned customers their bills are going to increase.

Central Hudson warned bills for natural gas will increase by about 19 percent, electric bills will increase by 46 percent, and about 29 percent for combination electric and natural gas bills.

Central Hudson said the increase is due to increases in supply prices for both electricity and natural gas as the region navigates a colder than average winter and as global energy factors come into play, prompting an increase in the demand and price for energy.

Supply prices are market-based and not marked-up by Central Hudson, officials say.

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"These bill increases are temporary and may vary for individual customers depending on energy usage and their billing cycle," Central Hudson said in February.

However, Central Hudson now believes "higher costs will be sustained through much of 2022."

Company officials say the events in eastern Europe are partially to blame.

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“A confluence of increased economic activity, constrained energy supplies, weather and global factors continue to affect energy prices,” President and CEO of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation Charles A. Freni stated. “This has impacted the prices of electricity and natural gas that Central Hudson delivers to our customers.” To view a video on rising energy prices and bill payment and assistance programs offered by Central Hudson,

Energy supply prices, which are market-based and which Central Hudson does not mark up nor profit on, have risen, company officials say.

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Electricity and natural gas are provided by independent generators and suppliers in the competitive energy marketplace. The prices for other utility bill components, including taxes and delivery charges, are regulated and stable. Utility bills reflect both the price of energy and usage.

The supply price for natural gas rose 24 percent in March, due to global and domestic factors, officials say.

Heating oil and gasoline prices are up about 40 percent compared to last year, according to Central Hudson.

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“Higher energy costs harm our customers and the communities we serve,” Freni added. “The energy resources produced in the United States now supply both domestic and international needs. We must ensure that state and federal policies allow for the expansion of critical energy infrastructure of all types to ensure robust and diverse energy supplies at stable prices, particularly as we transition to lower carbon resources.”

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Reasons for the price increase

Contributing to higher prices for electricity and natural gas include:

  • Increased domestic demand due to colder weather this year as compared to last year.
  • Constrained domestic pipeline capacity curtails gas supplies.
  • Lower electric production by renewable generators in the winter, shifts power production to generators using natural gas.
  • Regionally, increased reliance on natural gas for power generation following the closure of Indian Point.
  • Increased global demand for natural gas, as the United States is now a primary exporter of liquefied natural gas to Europe due to shortages there.
  • Increase domestic demand for electricity and natural gas as the economy recovers from closures prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Energy Efficiency and Billing Programs

Low-cost and no-cost efficiency measures homeowners can take to help manage energy costs include:

  • Insulating ducts and hot water pipes where they run through uninsulated areas, such as crawl spaces, and repairing leaks in the duct system;
  • Adding insulation, particularly in the attic;
  • Turning down thermostats (each degree saves up to three percent on energy use);
  • Keeping radiators and heating ducts clear of furniture to allow heat to circulate freely; and/or
  • Sealing air leaks with weather stripping and caulk, which can save up to 10 percent on the use of heating fuels.

LOOK: Here are 25 ways you could start saving money today

These money-saving tips—from finding discounts to simple changes to your daily habits—can come in handy whether you have a specific savings goal, want to stash away cash for retirement, or just want to pinch pennies. It’s never too late to be more financially savvy. Read on to learn more about how you can start saving now. [From: 25 ways you could be saving money today]

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