POUGHKEEPSIE – On Monday, the Board of Directors of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation has appointed Christopher M. Capone as the company’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. Capone takes over for Charles Freni.
“The Central Hudson Board of Directors believes the time is right for a change of leadership,” said Margarita Dilley, chair of the Central Hudson Gas & Electric Board of Directors. “Chris has a demonstrated history of successfully navigating challenges and leading teams to positive outcomes. We are confident in his ability to move the organization forward and to communicate those results to all stakeholders clearly and consistently.”
Capone’s appointment as President and CEO was effective immediately.
“A key priority will be addressing the frustrations some customers have felt resulting from the implementation of the new customer billing system. We have hired a significant number of additional personnel including contact center employees and other professionals to work on these issues around the clock,” said Capone. “More must be done and my commitment to you is I will be transparent about the progress we are making. There are more than 1,100 dedicated and talented professionals at our company who work tirelessly to deliver safe and reliable energy to their neighbors in communities throughout the mid-Hudson Valley. As the new CEO, I will work to support them so they in turn can support our customers.”
On February 1st, Congressman Pat Ryan called on Central Hudson CEO and President Charles Freni to resign in a speech on the House Floor. Monday, Freni stepped down, with Christopher M. Capone named the company’s new President and Chief Executive Officer.
“I am encouraged that Central Hudson took this first step toward rebuilding public trust – now they must take urgent action to fix their broken systems and repay customers who were wronged,” said Representative Pat Ryan. “I have already been in touch with Mr. Capone and made it clear that I will continue to fight on behalf of Hudson Valley families and businesses until customer complaints have been fully resolved and those who have been harmed are made whole.”
“A transparent process that prioritizes customer input is the only way Central Hudson can resolve these issues once and for all,” continued Ryan. “Open forums must be held to assist customers directly, all ratepayers who were illegally back billed must be reimbursed, and all investigations must be fully cooperated with. In the meantime, I urge the Public Service Commission to proceed rapidly with a prudence review and civil penalty assessment.”
Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “I’m pleased to see swift action from Central Hudson following our calls for a leadership change. Ratepayers deserve better from their public utilities, and hopefully, this change marks the beginning of the company’s work to repair the financial and emotional harms they’ve caused people across the Hudson Valley. I’ll always do my part to protect ratepayers and ensure we are bringing transparency and accountability to the utility industry.”