Central Hudson appoints new president, CEO

Poughkeepsie. After calls for new leadership, the position change is effective immediately.

Goshen /
| 13 Feb 2023 | 02:33

Central Hudson Gas & Electric appointed Christopher M. Capone as the utility’s new president and CEO. He will replace Charles A. Freni, Jr., who stepped down on Feb. 13.

The move came after customer complaints of billing issues and a Public Service report revealed that Central Hudson’s billing system was riddled with programming errors.

“A key priority will be addressing the frustrations some customers have felt resulting from the implementation of the new customer billing system,” Capone said. “We have hired a significant number of additional personnel including contact center employees and other professionals to work on these issues around the clock.”

The position change is effective immediately, although Freni will remain with Central Hudson to assist with the transition before retiring, the company said.

“The Central Hudson Board of Directors believes the time is right for a change of leadership,” Margarita Dilley, the chair of the utility’s board, said in a statement. “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.”

The move comes a little over a week after U.S. Rep. Pat Ryan (NY-18) called on Freni to resign.

“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,” Ryan said. “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.”

“More must be done and my commitment to you is I will be transparent about the progress we are making,” Capone said. “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.”