Missourians who are struggling with how they’ll be able to pay their utility bill on time and keep their homes warm during the cold winter months have some protection.  The Missouri Public Service Commission’s Cold Weather Rule, which is designed to help customers with heat-related utility bills by keeping their homes warm during what can be a cold winter this season begins November 1 and will remain in effect through the end of March 2013.

Chairman Kevin Gunn says it’s important to take steps now so customers won’t need to worry about whether or not their heat will get shut off. “While utility companies are prohibited from shutting it off if its 32 degrees… utility companies are very good about not doing that (to customers). We rarely if ever, have a complaint about utilities being shut off,” he says.

Gunn says some leniency to the rule pertains to customers who are either elderly or disabled with minimum income guidelines or if a customer has paid a minimum payment, then those customers are prohibited from having their heat shut off. 

“So what we’re trying to let people know is, yes, they do have this prohibition against shutting off your utility if the temperature dips below 32 degrees. But, if you’re concerned about non-payment, If you’re concerned about not being able to pay your bills, and you know that the cold weather is upon you the best thing to do is to call your utility company and try to make arrangements in order to keep the heat on, so you don’t have to worry about it,” he says.


AUDIO: Mary Farucci reports. (1:02)