Cold Weather Rule begins Nov. 1 for utility customers

The Cold Weather Rule, designed to help Kansans behind on their utility payments to avoid disconnection during the winter months, begins Nov. 1 and remains in effect through March 31.

“The Kansas Corporation Com­mission encourages Kan­sans who are past-due on their utility bills, and at risk for disconnection, to prepare for colder weather by contacting their utility company to make the necessary payment arrangements,” said Jay Scott Emler, KCC chair.

The Cold Weather Rule, first enacted by the KCC in 1983, prevents or limits utility companies from disconnecting a customer’s natural gas or electric service during periods of extreme cold.

Utility companies are prohibited from disconnecting a customer’s service when temperatures are forecast to be at or below 35 degrees over the next 24 hours.

In addition, the rule requires utility companies to offer a 12-month payment plan to allow consumers to maintain or re-establish utility service.

Any residential customer with a past-due balance will qualify for payment arrangements under the rule. How­ever, it is the customer’s responsibility to contact the gas or electric company to make those arrangements.

Payment-plan conditions to maintain or restore service require that customers agree to pay 1/12th of the total amount owed, 1/12th of the current bill, the full amount of any disconnection or reconnection fee, plus any applicable deposit to the utility.

The remaining balance must be paid in equal payments over the next 11 months, in addition to the current monthly bill.

The Cold Weather Rule applies only to residential customers of electric and natural gas utility companies under the KCC’s jurisdiction. Additional infor­mation about the Cold Weather Rule may be found at kcc.ks.gov/pi/cwr_english.htm.

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