Orange County Partnership - News

Central Hudson Gas & Electric to Offer More Than $1M in Grants to Assist Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus

POUGHKEEPSIE—Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. reported recently that it will provide regional organizations financial contributions to support their COVID-19 campaigns and missions.  They will offer $1 million in economic development grants to assist local small businesses, many of which have been impacted by the pandemic.

In addition, the utility is expanding its Good Neighbor Fund, a program that provides grants toward utility bills for qualified households.  It is funded by customers and matched by Central Hudson.  To beef up the program, the utility is doubling its matching funds this year.


“We are in an unprecedented environment, and many community organizations are struggling to provide needed services for impacted residents in our region,” said Charles A. Freni, president and CEO of Central Hudson. “By contributing to the region’s major human services organizations, we hope to support their efforts to assist those in need.”


He added, “In addition, our local businesses and low-income households are especially impacted. Working with our community partners, this support will provide needed assistance during this emergency.”


Central Hudson is taking assistance one step further by providing funding to the following organizations and initiatives that service Orange County:


  • $25,000 to Orange & Sullivan COVID-19 Response Fund—The Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan coordinates this fund, used to address immediate and longer-term needs of residents in Orange and Sullivan counties. This fund will distribute grants to established non-profit organizations that provide front-line services to the counties’ most vulnerable populations.  These services include prescription drug deliveries to homebound senior citizens and people with compromised immune systems.


  • Central Hudson contributed $25,000 each to COVID-related initiatives in Ulster and Dutchess counties.


  • $20,000 to Hudson Valley Food Bank—This organization distributes food to the charitable agency network serving disadvantaged residents. Central Hudson will also donate reusable grocery bags.


  • $5,000 to the Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center at SUNY New Paltz -   The Center is using its 3-D printing capabilities to produce face shields for regional health care organizations, including Ulster County for the drive-through mobile testing station at Tech City and local hospitals and medical centers. Central Hudson was an initial funder of the 3-D Center through its economic development programs.


The utility is also supporting local restaurants affected by current restrictions on dining out by offering customers a $30 gift card to the eatery of their choice to the first 200 who enroll in paperless billing. More information is available on Central Hudson’s Facebook page at


Central Hudson’s customer service representatives will continue to work with customers who need more time to pay their bill in this challenging time. For more information: or



Orange & Rockland Expand Efforts to Protect The Public During Coronavirus Emergency


“Nothing is more important than health and safety,” said Robert Sanchez, the president and CEO of Orange & Rockland (O&R). “We want to protect everyone while providing the safe, reliable service our customers need. While many of our in-home work activities have been put on hold, we are focusing on system infrastructure work that ensures safety and reliability.”


Steps O&R has taken to support and protect include:


  • Stopping shutoffs of electric and natural gas service due to non-payment resulting from the health crisis. (The utilities will continue to shut off service when there is a safety issue).


  • Will not bill new late-payment charges for all customers and will suspend the fee charged to a customer who is unable to grant access to their property.


  • Temporarily shut down customer service walk-in business centers. Customers can do business with Orange & Rockland online via or by downloading the free O&R mobile app.


  • Halted all meter reading and installation of smart meters at customers’ homes.


  • Will only enter a customer’s home for emergencies, safety-related inspections and customer-requested service connections and enhancements.


Orange & Rockland is also having administrative employees work from home, field personnel conduct pre-job briefings in smaller groups, workers are being divided into teams. The company instructs employees to follow the CDC guidelines, including hand washing, and social distancing.


Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, providing electric service to approximately 300,000 customers and natural gas service to approximately 130,000 customers.