Cold Weather Rule
What is it?
The Kansas Corporation Commission established the Cold Weather Rule in 1983 to protect human health and safety and to insure that Kansans have residential electric, natural gas and water services to their homes during the winter. The Cold Weather Rule is effective from November 1 through March 31. You must make pay arrangements with your utility to use the Rule.
How do you sign up?
If you can't pay your entire bill, call your utility company to make pay arrangements:
- Agree to pay 1/12 of the overdue amount of your bill, plus 1/12 of your current bill, all disconnection and connection fees, and agree to pay the remainder in equal payments over the next 11 months; or
- Negotiate a payment plan to pay the overdue amount off quicker than 12 months.
Remember, you must also pay your full bills for new service you use while paying off the overdue amount.
Apply for federal, state, local, or special funds for which you are eligible.
If you are behind in a previous payment plan and cannot catch up, you need to make a new payment agreement with the utility.
If you have illegally used service, you must pay for the value of the illegally used service.
Can you still be disconnected during the Cold Weather Rule?
Under certain circumstances, yes. The Cold Weather Rule is primarily designed to prevent disconnections during freezing weather; however, you need to know and understand the following rules to keep from being disconnected:
- A utility company cannot disconnect you when the temperature is forecasted to fall below 35 degrees or be in the mid- to low-30s in the next 24 hours.
- To keep from getting disconnected when it is 35 degrees or above, or to get reconnected regardless of temperature, you must make pay arrangements with your utility.
- A utility may start final notification and disconnection process if there is a 48-hour forecast of temperatures above 35 degrees. On the day before disconnection, a utility must attempt to contact you by phone. If that fails, they must go to the home and notify you or leave a message on the door. Some utilities have a third party notification plan.
- If the 48 hour forecast changes before the period ends and there is a forecast of below 35 degrees, the utility cannot disconnect until there is another Cold Weather Rule 48 hour forecast of temperatures above 35 degrees.
The Cold Weather Rule applies only to residential customers of electric, natural gas and water utility companies under the KCC Jurisdiction (http://kcc.ks.gov/pi/jurisdictional_utilities.htm).
If you have questions or concerns, please call 1-800-662-0027, or visit the KCC website (http://kcc.ks.gov/pi/cwr_english.htm).