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Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties will benefit from a new $5 million economic development fund, part of the Joint Settlement Agreement filed today with the New York State Public Service Public Service Commission in connection to the acquisition of the CH Energy Group by FortisUS Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis.
The three counties filed as active parties in the proceeding to ensure local residents benefited from the proposed acquisition. The $5 million in economic development funding will enhance existing Central Hudson economic development programs. The award criteria for the new funding will be determined in the coming weeks in a collaborative process between Central Hudson and the counties in the Central Hudson service area.
Central Hudson customers will be guaranteed a one year rate freeze. Central Hudson serves approximately 300,000 customers in a seven county region, with more than 90% of the customer base in Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties. Additionally, the counties have been assured funding for low income assistance will continue and all current staff levels will be maintained by the utility.
“Dutchess County has been actively involved in this process since the acquisition announcement was made early last year,” said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. “We were pleased to bring Orange and Ulster counties together in this partnership. Our approach has successfully resulted in stability over the next year for Central Hudson customers on their utility bills and significant economic development investment to spur new job creation in our region. I look forward to our continued work together with Central Hudson-Fortis and our neighbors.”
“Through this unprecedented partnership of County Executives from Ulster, Orange and Dutchess, we have been able to ensure that the Central Hudson/Fortis merger provides an enhanced $5 million economic development fund to benefit the region and a 12 month rate freeze that better serves all of our citizens,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.
“Orange County will see an influx of economic development dollars due to the Central Hudson Fortis merger, allowing us to better support our business community and increase the standard of living for our residents,” said Orange County Executive Ed Diana. “This settlement was the result of a collaborated effort with our neighboring counties, strengthening economic growth not only in the County of Orange but in the entire region as well.”