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Missouri's Cold Weather Rule may soon change

October 31, 2001
By: Sara Lane
State Capital Bureau

Last winter's cold left some Missourians with no natural gas to heat their homes. But a change in law could help them. Sara Lane has more from Jefferson City.

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OutCue: SOC

Missouri's Public Service Commission met Wednesday to hear arguments for changing the Cold Weather Rule.

Commission staff and the Public Counsel presented plans that would allow more people to get heat turned on this winter, even if they had not paid their bills.

Jacqueline Hutchinson is the director of St. Louis' Crisis Intervention Program.

Actuality:Hutchin
RunTime: :17
OutCue: "...very serious issue."
Contents: Jacqueline Hutchinson says if we don't do something soon we'll have kids with frostbite

Supporters of the plans say a change in the rule is necessary because of last year's cold winter and high natural gas prices.

Some Missourians face a cold winter if they can't pay last winter's gas bill. But changes in the cold weather rule might heat up their homes. Sara Lane has the story from Jefferson City.

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OutCue: SOC

Missouri's cold weather rule may be changed to help more people.

Last winter's cold weather and high natural gas prices left some Missourians unable to pay their heating bills.

Michael Pendergrass of LaCleede agrees something should be done, but says companies can do it voluntarily.

Actuality: LaCleede
RunTime: :19
OutCue: "...more informal way."
Contents: Michael Pendergrass of LaCleede says special measures should be taken, whether they are formal or informal measures.

The Commission acknowledged the utility companies have already gone beyond the call of duty to help delinquent customers.

Missouri's Cold Weather Rule goes into effect November 1st, but it may soon be changed to give more Missourians access to heat. Sara Lane has more from Jefferson City.

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RunTime:
OutCue: SOC

The beginning of winter means poor Missourians who couldn't pay last year's gas bill may have no heat this winter.

The Public Service Commission held a hearing Wednesday to discuss expanding the Cold Weather rule.

Proposals included a moratorium on turning off heat during the winter months, even for those who haven't paid their bills.

Ivan Eames administers a crisis intervention program in Columbia.

Actuality:Eames
RunTime: :13
OutCue: "...be worth it."
Contents: Eames says other states have moratoriums and Missouri should too.

The Cold Weather Rule runs through the winter months from November first to March 31st.