Cold Weather Rule for natural gas and electric utilities starts Wednesday

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- With the mercury dropping and winter looming, the rule preventing utilities from cutting natural gas or electric service when temperatures fall below 35 degrees.

The Cold Weather Rule goes into effect on Wednesday, November 1, and lasts through March 31, the Kansas Corporation Commission says. They explained the rule is meant to prevent customers from losing their electric or natural gas service during the winter.

For those four months, utility companies are prohibited from disconnecting service if temperatures are expected to fall below 35 degrees within the next 24 hours. It also requires utility customers to offer a 12-month payment plan.

All residential customers within the KCC's jurisdiction with past due balances qualify for for the payment plans, however the customer must be the ones who contact their gas or electric company to make arrangements.

"The Kansas Corporation Commission encourages Kansans who are past-due on their utility bills and at risk for disconnection to prepare for the colder weather by contacting their utility company to make the necessary payment arrangements," said Commission Chairman Pat Apple.

The payment plans require utility companies to maintain or restore service so long as the customer agrees to pay 1/12th of the amount owed, as well as 1/12th of the current bill and any disconnection or reconnection fee, and deposit. The remaining balance must be paid in equal payments over the next 11 months.

More information about the Cold Weather Rule can be found here or by calling your local utility company or the KCC's Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at (800) 662-0027.