Improvements are set to begin on several Central Hudson systems later this year across the Hudson Valley. Michael Howard reports the company said it could lower customers rates. 

Central Hudson is gearing up for improvements, set to start this summer.

Plans include improving the more than 100 year old cast iron gas mains with polymer-based plastic ones, the replacement of substation transformers and poles in areas of the Hudson Valley.

“Some of these transformers are 70 years old, they need to be replaced, the new transformers are much more efficient,” said Central Hudson spokesman John Maserjian.

With the new improvements Central Hudson said it will boost efficiently and service for its thousands of customers.

“These investments not only improve storm resilience but also safety and efficiently of gas and electric system," said Maserjian.

But with a proposed rate increase in discussion, in part to help make more system upgrades some are skeptical.

“My light bill is like a $2,000 light bill," said Poughkeepsie resident Tanya Barber. 

Barber is with the group 'Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson', an organization that fights displacement caused by unaffordable utilities. She said her bill is high enough.

“They need to think about the elderly, think about the young babies that are in households, think about people with low income who are really struggling to try to keep up with their bills like this," said Barber. 

But the company said the infrastructure improvements could lower customer’s rates.

“The new transformers are much more efficient and they’re going to allow for us to control voltage better which will in tern lower customers bills," said Maserjian. 

As for Barber, she’s hoping to receive any help she can get.

“If they bring it down it’s all well and good but if it goes higher it’ll be terrible,” said Barber.