I heard from a number of readers today who were concerned by the sitation that the subjects of a story on the front page found themselves in. The Keslers of Kansas City are in a house whose utilities have been shut off for months.
By Derek Donovan
The Kansas City Star
I was under the impression that it is illegal for the gas companies to shut off someones heat in the wintertime, said one caller. How can these people be treated like that, even if they havent paid?
The answer lies in the specifics of the Missouri Cold Weather Rule.
No, utilities cant shut off service when the temperature is forecast to dip below freezing. However, this familys had been shut off for months. The law doesnt require that they be restored with the cold. It would have been a good idea for the story to mention this, as I dont think its necessarily obvious.
Incidentally, this is another example of the immense compassion that Star readers often display when speaking with me. While I cant recommend specific charities, I do send people to the United Way of Greater Kansas City for ways to help.