What is the cold weather rule?
Utilities, in general, establish cold weather rules that govern how and when utilities can be disconnected during winter when things are cold or alternatively heat rules covering extreme heat.
In general, the rules vary from state to state and also can differ significantly between investor-owned which are subject to state regulation and municipally-owned utilities which are governed by local boards.
In Missouri, investor-owned utilities like Kansas City Power & Light is subject to a cold weather rule established by the Missouri Public Service Commission. The situation is similar in Kansas.
Independence Power & Light is a municipal-owned utility and establishes its own rules which are approved by the City Council.
Independence Power & Light
The City Council updated the cold/hot weather rule to make it generally consistent with those of investor-owned utilities.
The new City policy, adopted in October 2014, states electrical utility service will not be shut off for non-payment when the 24-hour forecast predicts temperatures colder than 32 degrees - the cold weather rule.
The new hot weather rules states electrical utility service will not be shut off for non-payment when the 24-hour forecasts temperatures in excess of 95 degrees or a heat index greater than 105 degrees.
The prior rules made it easier for IPL to disconnect when the weather was cold or hot.
The video shows a City Council discussion asking questions about the number of utility disconnects.
Missouri Public Service Commission
The Missouri Public Service Commission (MPSC) has extensive rules governing when utilities can be disconnected during winter months.
The rule was established in 1977 and amended in 2004 to provide a higher level of protection for customers needing help with their heat-related utilities. It also changed the temperature moratorium from 30 to 32 degrees.
In general, the rule prohibits disconnection of heat-related service from November 1 through March 31 when the temperature is forecasted to drop below 32 degrees.
Read the MPSC Cold Weather Fact Sheet.