A state agency is reminding utility customers who are behind on paying their electric and natural gas bills that the Kansas Cold Weather Rule ends Tuesday.

TOPEKA (AP) — A state agency is reminding utility customers who are behind on paying their electric and natural gas bills that the Kansas Cold Weather Rule ends Tuesday.
The Cold Weather Rule helps to ensure Kansas residents have electric, gas and water service during the winter. Pay arrangements are made in order to use the utility rule, if a customer can't pay their entire bill.
Utilities must inform residents of the Cold Weather Rule payment plan as well as other available payment plans. Utilities must also send written notice to customers 10 days before disconnection, plus attempt a phone call or personal contact the day before and tell customers about agencies that have funds to help pay utility bills.
A utility can't disconnect service when the temperature is forecasted to drop below 35 degrees or be in the mid to low 30s over the next 24 hours, except in certain circumstances.
A utility may start the final notification and disconnection process if there is a 48 hour forecast of temperatures above 35 degrees, though on the day before disconnection, a utility must attempt to contact customers by phone. If that fails, they must go to the home and notify customers or leave a message on the door. Some utilities have a third party notification plan.
The Cold Weather Rule applies only to residential customers of electric, natural gas, and water utility companies under the KCC's jurisdiction.
The Kansas Corporation Commission says the rule aims to protect residential customers who cannot fully pay winter utility bills. It is in effect from Nov. 1 through March 31 of each year for customers of companies under the KCC's jurisdiction.
The agency says customers can contact their utility company to set up a payment plan. The rule requires utilities to set up 12-month payment plans for customers who cannot afford to pay their full bill.
But the KCC cautions that failure to make arrangements or follow the payment plan could result in service disconnection.