NYS Public Service Commission Denies Hudson Valley Water Company Extension

Posted February 29, 2024

ALBANY, NY and KINGSTON, NY - The New York State Public Service Commission yesterday denied Hudson Valley Water Company’s request for a 30-day extension to comply with the order to show cause on why they should not be replaced by a temporary operator. The owner, Jeffrey Fuller, requested an extension due to “being out of the country and having not had the ability to become fully aware of the circumstances or to attempt to prepare the required response.” NYS Public Service Commission Secretary Michelle Phillips responded in a letter on behalf of the Commission that the reasons were “not persuasive, particularly, where, as here, the Order outlines a lengthy timeline of complaints and an extended history of alleged water quality and service issues.” 


“I applaud the Commission’s decision to deny the request for an extension, which Mr. Fuller made for reasons that were absurd, at best,” said Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger.  “Fuller’s rationale that he has been out of the country is an excuse akin to ‘the dog ate my homework,’ and is particularly galling in this moment, with System #5 in Boiceville currently under a Boil Water Notice due to a power outage–a situation that could have been entirely prevented had the company followed an earlier directive from the Commission to install a back-up generator.” 


Hudson Valley Water Company, Inc., operates five pumping and distribution systems throughout Ulster County, including in Mount Marion, High Falls Park, Pine Street-Hurley, West Hurley, and Boiceville. After a system failure began on December 16, 2023, the Boiceville system was left without drinking water service for nearly a month. The Boiceville system once again failed in late February 2024 and was placed on a boil water notice due to a lack of a generator. This outage is the latest in a long record of outages, service interruptions, and poor customer service, and demonstrates the company’s inability to follow its PSC-approved Standard Operating Procedures and Emergency Plan. 


The company’s failures have repeatedly resulted in officials having to step in over the years to ensure residents were properly notified of issues, including outages, boil water notices, service interruptions, and the provision of potable water during a system failure. 


These issues were the basis of customer complaints about the Hurley and Mount Marion systems, which prompted a Department of Public Service Investigation in 2019-2020. In June 2022, then-County Executive Pat Ryan, together with Senator Michelle Hinchey and then-Assemblymember Kevin Cahill, held a public hearing on HVWC’s request for a 20.6% rate increase, drawing residents from all five systems to demand service improvements. The company was granted just a 2.8% increase, due in good part to numerous complaints by residents and officials, and the company’s failure to comply with commission orders.

Commission order and 2024 staff report for Matter 24-W-0105 can be found here: https://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/MatterManagement/CaseMaster.aspx?MatterCaseNo=24-W-0105&CaseSearch=Search.

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