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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

NYers uneasy about Central Hudson rate increase

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Wednesday, May 29, 2024   

New Yorkers are uneasy about Central Hudson Gas & Electric getting a rate increase.

It comes amid a Public Service Commission investigation into long-standing overbilling practices and glitches in a new billing system. Commission reports show it had catastrophic consequences for customers.

Rosemary DaCruz, operations and administrative coordinator for the group Communities for Local Power, said community members overwhelmingly oppose the rate hike.

"The public hearings were full of stories of community members who experienced overbilling, confusing bills, multiple bills a day," DaCruz observed. "I myself was issued over 20 bills in one day in like adjustments, that I had no clue how to decipher and the reports of billing errors are still continuing."

Residents feel Central Hudson should not get a rate increase until the company provides accurate bills. A December 2022 report showed Central Hudson employees notified company leaders about avoidable billing system transition issues. However, the report concluded negligent and reckless action by decision-makers led to disaster for many customers.

Statewide energy bills are only growing this year, reaching their highest rates this month. Many utility companies are seeking rate increases as energy supply prices and inflation go up.

DaCruz feels the funds Central Hudson is looking for are not for things the company needs.

"They were arguing for a climate resiliency surcharge, arguing that all the work that they have to do to comply with the climate laws is something they need money for," DaCruz pointed out. "Which shouldn't be the case when they should actually be saving money by transitioning to electricity."

Several bills are designed to reduce ratepayer costs for climate change adaptation. Both the Climate Change Superfund and New York HEAT Acts shift much of the financial burden to utility companies and large-scale polluters. Both bills passed the Senate and await further action by the Assembly.


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