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