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No 'Hot Weather Rule' for electricity shutoff in Kansas

August 12, 2010|By Rebecca Gannon | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

(WELLINGTON, Kan.) — All these high temperatures have our air conditioners working non-stop, and our electricity bills reflecting that.
    
In the winter in the state of Kansas, there's a Cold Weather Rule stating your heat cannot be turned off if the temperature drops too low.
    
There is no 'Hot Weather Rule' in Kansas for times like these, which some people found out the hard way recently.

Our Eyewitness Newsroom received a phone call today from a woman in Wellington -- who told us some people had their electricity turned off there today.
   
The city of Wellington supplies its residents with electricity, and it tells us 96 homes had their power cut Thursday, because they hadn't paid their bills.  And that's just about normal for the town.  (By the close of business Thursday, about a third had already paid their bill.)
  
Keep in mind, most electricity bills are highest in the summer, when we use electricity to run our air conditioners.
    
There is no law saying a power provider has to keep supplying electricity to someone who is behind on their bills in this heat.
    
But some power companies allow customers to keep using their electricity -- even if they haven't paid their bill. "We know it's hot out there," said Nick Bundy, spokesman for Westar in Wichita.   "The last thing we want is somebody going to the hospital or someone passing away because we shut off their air conditioner when it was that hot out."
    
Westar Energy says it's 'Heat Moratorium' policy kicks in when the Heat Index is forecast to be 105 degrees, and the overnight low above 80 degrees
for two days.

The company's had the 'Heat Moratorium' in place for most of July and August.  This only applies to Westar customers.
    
Since there is no law saying the lights have to stay on in the heat, it's up to each electricity company to make it's own policy. We checked -- and the city of Wellington does not have a 'Hot Weather' policy.

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