Officials with Kansas City Power & Light Co. on Tuesday issued a release summarizing energy assistance programs available this winter to low-income customers across the utility's service area, which includes Maryville and other communities in Nodaway County.
Beginning Nov. 1, KCP&L customers will be eligible to apply for home-heating subsidies through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.
Federal LIEAP funds become available in mid-January and are meant to help eligible households pay energy bills during the coldest months of the year.
For information on program guidelines, potential applicants should go to www.kcpl.com or call United Way 2-1-1 for referral to local community action agencies.
"We understand some of our customers may be experiencing financial difficulties causing them to fall behind on their electric bills," said Lori Shaffer, senior manager of KCP&L Customer and Community Affairs.
"We want to reach out to those customers and work with them to find payment solutions and, if possible, connect them to local agency funding programs."
Under Missouri's Cold Weather Rule, which goes into effect Nov. 1, residents who can't pay part or all of their utility bills during the winter have certain protections under the law.
Among other things, the law prohibits disconnection of service when temperatures are forecasted to drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for the following 24-hour period. The rule also:
∙ Requires utilities to notify customers by mail at least 10 days prior to date of proposed disconnection.
∙Requires utilities to make further attempts to reach customers within 96 hours prior to disconnection through a second written notice, a door hanger notice, or at least two attempts to establish contact by telephone.
∙Requires utility companies to notify customers about the possibility of financial assistance with regard to paying bills.
∙Prohibits disconnection of registered low-income elderly or disabled customers who make minimum payments and requires that customers be allowed to spread payments over 12 months.
Customers seeking to learn more about payment options should go to "Energy Assistance Programs" at www.kcpl.com/financialassistance.
Area residents who want to help those who have fallen behind on utility bills can do so through a KCP&L "Energy Gift" donation. For details about this program, go to www.kcpl.com/energygift.