Two sides of a task force looking at the state Cold Weather Rule have presented their cases to the Public Service Commission. The Cold Weather Rule keeps utilities from turning off the heat for non-payment when the temperature falls below 30 degrees between November first and March 31st. Jacqueline Hutchinson is with the advocacy for the poor group Human Development Corporation of St. Louis. She wants to see the temperature threshold raised. And Hutchinson would also like to see a moratorium on disconnects for certain groups such as the elderly and households with children. But AmerenUE’s Tom Byrne says putting off paying doesn’t put any money in anyone’s pockets, and too many people might take advantage of a moratorium. Byrne says delaying a disconnection won’t keep utilities from being cutoff down the road as arearages just pile up and put customers in a hole they cannot dig themselves out of. Both sides agree this is a tough one to resolve. Public service commissioners will need to come up with a compromise before November 1st when the next Cold Weather Rule kicks in.
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