KINGSTON, NY – Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. said residential electricity prices beginning Friday in the Mid-Hudson region will be 46% lower per kilowatt hour than the previous month.

“Continued volatility in energy markets is driving fluctuations in electricity and natural gas prices,” the utility said in a news release. “Central Hudson’s residential electricity supply price fell 46% from 21.6 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh) in February to 11.6 cents per kwh in March, effective March 11.

“As previously announced, natural gas prices increased 24% from 73.9 cents per hundred cubic feet in February to 91.6 cents per ccf in March, effective March 1,” the company added.

Supply prices on bills and overall bill impacts will vary for individual customers, depending on their billing cycle and energy usage, the company said.

“Market analysts predict that energy prices will likely remain elevated through the year compared to last year due to an economic recovery, energy supply constraints, strong energy demands and ‘world events,’ the company said.

Central Hudson stated that it purchases electricity and natural gas on behalf of full-service customers in the energy market and does not mark up the price of energy supply.

In February, Central Hudson said projected overall bills for natural gas, both residential and commercial, would rise an average of about 19%; for electrical service, about 46%; and for a combination of the two, around 29%.

Central Hudson spokesman Joseph Jenkins said percentages could not be provided for April bills.

“We are unable to have direct bill impacts as March is a transition month, where customer usage varies significantly (as does the weather),” Jenkins said. “The electricity rates we handed out today (March 11) will start to impact billing today and in the future. That being said, not all of our customers are on the same billing cycle. Depending on when you receive your bill, the supply rate you are billed is a mix of the two months’ rates.

Jenkins said the March 11 price will apply to invoices through early April.

Meanwhile, State Senator Michelle Hinchey, D-Saugerties, has written a letter to the Public Service Commission demanding an investigation into recent increases Central Hudson customers have seen on their bills.

“The Public Service Commission has launched similar investigations into utility providers across the state for unreasonable and irresponsible rate hikes, but has not yet launched an investigation into Central Hudson,” Hinchey wrote. . “Many of these customers were already struggling with their bills as Central Hudson recently switched to a failed estimated billing system, which left many of them without accurate meter readings for the past several months.”

Similarly, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan sent a letter to the Civil Service Commission last week asking for an investigation. “The failure to implement Central Hudson’s new billing system, compounded by unexpected and unprecedented bill increases, has severely damaged the trust of our community,” Ryan said in a statement.

The Public Service Commission has also opened an investigation into Central Hudson’s handling of the historic ice storm in Ulster County in February. Additionally, Sen. James Skoufis, D-Cornwall, said a committee he leads has also launched an investigation into higher utility bills.