The proposed takeover of Central Hudson by Fortis faces strong opposition from community members and representatives, citing higher rates and job loss as two concerns.
Under the Fortis-Central Hudson proposal, $5 million would be allocated to the five-county Central Hudson service area. According to the Public Utility Law Project of New York (PULP), a not-for-profit organization serving the needs of residential customers, only $500,000 of that money would be directed to low-income customers. Citizens for Local Power found that a pittance, considering that in 2011 one of every ten Central Hudson customers either had their service cut off for non-payment or were more than 60 days in arrears.
Opponents said the $5 million in community benefits would be dwarfed by nearly $25 million in payouts to five top Central Hudson executives. The biggest beneficiary, according to Citizens for Local Power, would be President and CEO Steven Lant, who would receive $8.74 million in cash plus $2.5 million in stock.