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MO Atty General Endorses Heat-Up St. Louis

November 18, 2005

 

Dear Heat-Up St. Louis:

I am pleased to be a part of this important gathering today.

First, I want to encourage all who are concerned by the escalating costs of energy and the effects it will have on many vulnerable Missourians to join in this fund-raising effort. Heat up St. Louis performs an outstanding service not only for St. Louis but for the entire metro area.

Today, I also want to announce new efforts by my office to link up to Heat Up Missouri to help protect Missourians and to help consumers better know their rights under the Missouri Cold Weather Rule. I have been very concerned about the effects the escalating energy costs will have on the most vulnerable citizens in our state - the poor, the elderly and the disabled. Already, my office filed to intervene in a Public Service Commission investigation of natural gas distribution companies to determine what steps, if any, have been taken to mitigate sharp price increases for natural gas.

Missouri rules and regulations require monopoly utilities to take measures to mitigate upward price volatility for consumers. This intervention, on behalf of Missouri state agencies, departments and companies, will allow me to conduct an independent investigation to determine their compliance with those rules.

Furthermore, I have joined with Attorneys General in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin seeking data from natural gas distribution companies to determine measures various companies are taking to lock in prices when rates are lower. We hope to use our combined information to make recommendations for state regulatory changes and protection programs for low-income and other at risk groups. We must all work together to increase our advocacy for those struggling with the escalating costs of fuel. The most vulnerable in our society- the poor, the elderly and the disabled -should not have to choose between eating and heating. I pledge to work with Heat Up by linking our website to represent Missouri consumers to the extent allowed by law.

Today, our office is offering new information on our website and linking our site to Heat Up in an effort to provide information on the Missouri Cold Weather Rule and to give consumers a better opportunity to alert our office if they have information that rule has been violated. To access this new web page go to www.ago.mo.gov. The information provided on our website can be used as a reference for all those who are working with our elderly, our disabled and the poor to direct them to agencies that can assist and to help them ensure their rights under the Missouri Cold Weather Rule.

In addition, I want consumers to use our hotline at 1-800-392-8222 as an additional resource for questions about the Cold Weather Rule and to ensure your rights are protected. To those who feel they have been illegally disconnected from natural gas or electrical services, in violation of the Missouri Cold Weather Rule, I encourage you to contact the Office of the Attorney General at 1-800-392-8222.

Our office will work to determine if you are being treated fairly under the Missouri Cold Weather Rule. Next, if you have already signed up for the budget plan, as allowed by the Cold Weather Rule, and feel that you have been unfairly removed from the plan, contact our office at 1-800-392-8222.

And finally, if you feel you have been ripped off by a repair service or charged excessive amounts to correct any safety issues relating to your electric heat, boiler or furnace call our hotline at 1-800-392-8222. In closing, I want to congratulate Heat Up for performing an outstanding public service and to encourage all consumer advocates and others concerned for the safety and well being of some of Missouri's most vulnerable citizens to get involved - both as a donor to Heat Up and as an consumer advocate. Thank you Mr. Trotter, Mayor Slay, Dr. Knight, Chief Zeitzman and other city leaders for your efforts and commitment.


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