TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Kansas Cold Weather rule, impacting utility companies and their customers, is set to take effect at the beginning of November.

Linda Berry with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) said in a press release the Cold Weather Rule will start on Wednesday, Nov. 1 and run through to March 31, 2024. The rule is meant to help Kansans who are behind on their utility payments avoid being disconnected during the winter months.

While the rule is active, utility companies are not allowed to disconnect a customer’s service when the local temperatures are forecast to fall below 35 degrees within the following 48-hour period. Berry said the KCC started the rule in 1983 to stop utility companies from disconnecting a customer’s natural gas or electric service during periods of extreme cold.

Another feature of the rule is that it requires utility companies to offer a 12-month payment plan to allow customers to maintain or re-establish service. Any residential customer with a past due balance will qualify for payment arrangements. However, the customer has a responsibility to contact their gas or electric provider to make those arrangements.

Berry said payment plan terms 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 along with any applicable deposit to the utility. The remaining balance must be paid in equal payments for the next 11 months in addition to the costs incurred by 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. Many municipal utilities and cooperatives also have similar winter weather policies.

You can learn more about the Cold Weather Rule by clicking here. You can also call the KCC’s Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at 800-662-0027 or 785-271-3140.

People living in northeast Kansas can expect to start seeing snow falling across the area in the coming weeks. Topekans traditionally have seen snow start falling by the end of October or in November over the course of the last ten years.

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