Topeka The state's utility regulating agency announced changes today in its ``cold weather rule'' that governs utilities' disconnection of service during the winter.
The Kansas Corporation Commission said the cold weather rule will be implemented two weeks earlier than normal this year, on Nov. 1.
The rule, which the KCC established in 1983, prohibits the disconnection of service by utilities during cold weather and requires companies to offer payment plans for bills to allow customers to keep or re-establish service.
The three-member commission also increased the temperature at which disconnections are prohibited, from 32 degrees to 35 degrees. Disconnections also are prohibited when a forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-30s.
The commission also adopted a provision preventing utilities from disconnecting service unless a two-day forecast calls for temperatures above 35 degrees. Also, a utility must give a customer 24 hours' notice, either by telephone or by visiting the residence.
The rule will stay in effect until March 31.