Archive for Friday, December 1, 2000

Regulators criticize unclear marketing

December 1, 2000


— The largest natural gas distributor in Kansas is marketing a program that it says will help protect consumers from higher fuel prices this winter.

But the Kansas Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities, has taken Kansas Gas Service to task over its marketing materials for being unclear. Also, a KCC spokeswoman describes the program as a gamble for consumers.

Kansas Gas promotes its WeatherProof program as a way for consumers to avoid fluctuating bills because of high gas prices. Customers who opt for it pay the same bill throughout the year.

The company provides gas to 625,000 customers in 300 communities. Its service territories include most of northeast Kansas, excluding Lawrence.

Last year 23,000 Kansas Gas customers signed up for the program, the company said. This year, about 27,700 are signed up.

The company recently mailed out enrollment forms for the WeatherProof program. The KCC criticized the company for making terms and conditions of the WeatherProof program printed on the back of the enrollment form in light-gray type difficult to read.

"It's certainly not consumer orientated," KCC spokeswoman Rosemary Foreman said. "We have talked to the company and said this is not acceptable."

Kansas Gas officials blamed a printing error and promised to send out another page of terms and conditions to customers who signed up for the program.

The company promotes the WeatherProof program as a way for consumers to get control over their natural gas bills.

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