Senator proposes turning down the heat on delinquent utility customers

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 | 10:52 a.m. CST; updated 3:12 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — Missourians struggling to pay utility bills could get some hot-weather relief under legislation endorsed by the Senate.

The proposal would prohibit electric or natural gas companies from shutting off service to delinquent customers on days when the temperature is forecast to rise above 95 degrees or the heat index above 105 degrees.

A cold-weather rule already prohibits utilities from shutting off service between March and November when the temperature is forecast to dip below 32 degrees.

Senate Minority Leader Maida Coleman of St. Louis says the legislation is necessary because Missouri is among the national leaders in heat deaths.

Senators gave initial approval to the bill Monday. It needs another vote to move to the House.

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