Can heat really be shut off in the cold?

02/08/2014 7:26 PM

02/08/2014 7:26 PM

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.

“I was under the impression that it is illegal for the gas companies to shut off someone’s heat in the wintertime,” said one caller. “How can these people be treated like that, even if they haven’t paid?”

The answer lies in the specifics of the

Missouri Cold Weather Rule.

No, utilities can’t shut off service when the temperature is forecast to dip below freezing. However, this family’s had been shut off for months. The law doesn’t require that they be restored with the cold. It would have been a good idea for the story to mention this, as I don’t think it’s necessarily obvious.

Incidentally, this is another example of the immense compassion that Star readers often display when speaking with me. While I can’t recommend specific charities, I do send people to the

United Way of Greater Kansas City for ways to help.


Join the discussion

is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service