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Lobbyist Money Help  

State Agency Wants Heating Help for Low-Income Missourians

December 6, 2005
By: Jade Mingus
State Capital Bureau

The cost of heating your home is going up and up as winter is just getting started. 

Jade Mingus reports from the state capitol on what a state commission is doing to help Missourians keep warm.

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The office of Public Counsel, which fights for fair utility rates, wants the Missouri Public Service Commission to help Missourians heat their homes.

One way it already provides help is through the "Cold Weather Rule" that began in 1977.

Now, nearly thirty years later, the Public Counsel wants to add an emergency clause to the policy so it doesn't leave Missourians out in the cold.

Russell Trippensee is the head accountant for the Public Counsel office.

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"Because we do believe this needs to be put into place in a timely manner we have proposed an alternative funding mechanism."

The alternative funding would help Missourians in debt from high heating costs.

Commission members say they don't know when they will vote on the emergency clause.

From the state capitol, I'm Jade Mingus.

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Winter weather means higher heating costs for Missourians.

Jade Mingus reports from the state capitol on what one Missouri group is doing to combat these high costs.

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The state group that fights for fair utility rates...the office of Public Counsel and the Missouri Gas Utilty group have been presenting plans to the Missouri Public Service Commission on how to help lower-income Missourians deal with heating costs.

Russell Trippensee is the chief accountant for the office of Public Counsel. He says Missourians need more help this winter than ever before.

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"All of the utilities have resented, are going to result in bills later this month and on into January and February with bills that customers have not ever seen before."

The Public Counsel office proposed an emergency clause to the "Cold Weather Rule" that's already in place.

The clause would help those who are in debt from paying high heating bills.

From the state Capitol, I'm Jade Mingus.

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The days are getting colder as natural gas prices keep getting hotter.

Jade Mingus has more from the state capitol on what a state commission is doing to help lower-income Missourians.

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The Public Counsel office fights for fair utility rates and it wants the Public Service Commission to help Missourians heat their homes by providing debt relief.

The "Cold Weather Rule" has been in place since 1977, but the Public Counsel office wants to add an emergency amendment.

The head accountant for the Public Counsel, Russell Trippensee says he wants to provide Missourians with alternative ways to pay high bills.

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OutCue: "Public Counsel's role proposes to look at the specific customers who utilize this rule and track their costs that arise out of it and also the benefits that may arise out of it."
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Missouri Public Service Commission members say they don't know when they will vote on the proposed emergency clause.

From the state capitol, I'm Jade Mingus.