Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- January 15, 2021
Contact:
Kevin Kelly (573) 751-9300
PR-21-104

PSC Denies Emergency Rulemaking Request

JEFFERSON CITY---The Missouri Public Service Commission has denied a request filed by Consumers Council of Missouri which sought Commission issuance of an emergency rule that would temporarily prevent electric, natural gas, and water disconnections through March 31, 2021, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commission found the rulemaking requested does not meet the criteria for the issuance of an emergency rule.

“At the beginning of the pandemic in this state, the large Commission-regulated utilities each voluntarily placed a moratorium on residential disconnections. This action allowed the utilities time to take the necessary legal and organizational steps to revise their payment plans, collections processes, customer financial assistance programs, and other operations to better serve their customers during the pandemic,” said the Commission. “These utilities reported to the Commission that most of their repayment and financial assistance programs were still available and were funded. Additionally, stopping the regular disconnection processes may unintentionally harm customers by making them ineligible to receive financial assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) because no disconnection was imminent. The utilities stated that customers often did not seek help with payment plans and financial assistance until prompted to do so by receiving a disconnection notice. Further, placing a moratorium on disconnections may leave customers with insurmountable arrearages when the moratorium expires.”

“The Commission finds that the programs put in place by the utilities to avoid disconnections during the pandemic should be allowed an opportunity to work and have been working,” said the Commission.
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