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17 November 2011

Rupp: The Missouri Cold Weather Rule

As temperatures begin to drop and winter coats are brought out of storage, citizens across Missouri will be adjusting their thermostats to make their homes comfortable during the chilly weather. However, heating services can be expensive and are unattainable for some without help. To ensure that Missourians in need are not left out in the cold, the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued the Cold Weather Rule, which took effect Nov. 1, and will continue until March 31.

The Cold Weather Rule, which has been part of PSC regulations since 1977, applies to natural gas and electric utilities under PSC authority that provide heat-related services to the people of Missouri. The purpose of the rule is to protect Missourians from feeling the wrath of cold weather by preventing the disabling of customers’ heat services. Under this rule, certain investor-owned utilities regulated by the PSC in our state must follow these guidelines:
  • A person's heat-related service cannot be disconnected if the temperature is forecasted to drop below 32 degrees.
  • Customers are allowed to budget their payments over 12 months.
  • Customers aren't required to submit a deposit if a payment agreement is kept.
  • Before a person's service can be shut off, a representative must notify the customer by mail and in person.
  • People registered as low-income elderly or disabled customers who make minimum payments cannot have their service disconnected.
    (Please click here if you would like to learn more about the Cold Weather Rule.)
Considering the fact that Missourians dealt with brutal cold weather earlier this year, it’s a good idea to begin taking precautions now. Please visit the PSC website at to learn more about budget billing, setting your thermostat, preparing for heating season, and steps to take in case of emergency.

As always, if you have any inquiries regarding this issue or any other matter within state government, please feel free to e-mail me or call my office toll-free at (866) 271-2844. You can also visit my website at Here, you can keep up to date on all my columns, press releases, and multimedia postings.

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