"Cold Weather Rule" Expires March 31

By Jolyn Johnston-Myers
March 30, 2016

The Kansas Cold Weather Rule expires March 31, which means Kansans who are behind on their electric and natural gas utility bills will again be at risk for disconnection unless they contact their utility company to make payment arrangements.

If they have not already done so, local residents who are behind on their utility payments will need to stop in at McPherson's BPU at 411 West Kansas Avenue to fill out the required application to make arrangements to catch up on their payments.

The Cold Weather Rule extends from November 1 to March 31 each year and was put in place to provide protection to residential customers only who struggle to fully pay their winter utility bills.

The Cold Weather Rule requires companies under the Kansas Corporation Commission's (KCC) jurisdiction to set up 12-month payment plans for customers who cannot afford to pay their full bill. As part of this arrangement, the customer must make an initial payment of 1/12 of the overdue amount, 1/12 of the bill for current service, the full amount of any disconnection or reconnection fees, plus any applicable deposit owed to the utility. The balance will be billed in equal payments over the next 11 months in addition to the regular monthly bill.

Failure to make arrangements or failure to adhere to an already established payment plan could result in service disconnection. Reconnection may require payment in full.

The KCC adopted the Cold Weather Rule to protect customers during cold winter weather by providing a reasonable and organized method of paying past due and current bills. The Cold Weather Rule applies only to residential customers of electric and natural gas utility companies under the KCC's jurisdiction. For a complete list of utilities regulated by the KCC visit:www.kcc.ks.gov/pi/jurisdictional_utilities.htm.