As we enter the Fall and Winter months, a rule to help many across the state has gone into effect. The rule prevents utility companies from disconnecting someone's heat if the temperature is predicted to drop below 32 degrees during the following 24 hour period. It also allows customers to work out payment plans with utility companies.

The cold weather rule is in effect from November 1 to March 31. You can thank the Missouri Public Service Commission for instituting this rule 43 years ago. In 1977, the commission instituted it so that many across the state may keep warm. The ruling has definitely made a difference.

As you may well know, some of Missouri's winters has seen temperatures dip below not only the freezing mark but also sub-zero temps are seen in most winters in the Show-Me State.

You may or may not remember that back in the 70's, not only those in Missouri but also other across the nation were feeling the financial struggles of a recession. In fact, according to a story by Mary Schierman-Duncan:

Thomas M. Supel, Senior Economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis noted in early 1978, the "longest and deepest recession since the end of World War II began in the late fall of 1973 and hit bottom in midwinter of 1975."

So how did the Cold Weather Rule come about? According to information from the Missouri Public Service Commission, in mid February, 1977, the then-acting commissioner of the MPS requested a rule prohibiting a utility to terminate service during severe cold weather.

After a number of applications, the emergency rule went into effect on November 1, 1977.