PSC Extends Cold Weather Rule Opens Investigation Into Cold Weather Event
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PSC Extends Cold Weather Rule Opens
Investigation Into Cold Weather Event
Lincoln, March 2, 2021 – In response to the arctic cold that
gripped a large portion of the nation including Nebraska in
late February, the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC),
Tuesday, March 2, issued an Order extending the Cold Weather
Rule and opening a docket to investigation the effects of the
cold weather event.
“Gas utilities under PSC regulation have told us that the spike in
natural gas prices during this event will likely cause a substantial
impact on customers’ bills in the coming months,” said Commission
Chair Dan Watermeier. “We’re exploring what options we have to
help mitigate the impact of this spike.”
To aid in this information gathering process, the PSC will hold
workshops in early April with each of its jurisdictional gas utilities,
Black Hills Energy and NorthWestern Energy. Details on the two
workshops can be found in the Order opening the docket
(NG-111/PI-237) on the PSC website.
As a part of this effort the PSC has also extended its cold weather
rule through May 31. Implemented in 2003, when the PSC was
given regulatory authority over the state’s jurisdictional gas utilities
(Black Hill Energy and NorthWestern Energy) the cold weather rule
provides financially strapped customers a little extra time to pay
their bills during the winter months and adds protection for low-
Commissioner Watermeier said, “Typically the cold weather rule
runs from November through March. By extending it, we hope to
help ensure natural gas service remains uninterrupted in the event
customers experience higher bills.”
The cold weather rule, which applies only to Nebraska’s jurisdictional
natural gas utilities assures a customer’s service may not be shut off
without allowing an additional 30 days to pay beyond the normal bill
date and provides additional protections for low-income customers.
Nebraska communities served by municipally owned natural gas
utilities are not subject to regulation by the PSC and are not required
to comply with the cold weather rule or the informational gathering
related to docket NG-111/PI-237.
Customers having difficulty paying natural gas bills should contact
their gas company to explore payment plans and assistance options.
Customers can also contact local public assistance agencies for help
with natural gas bills. ###
Deb Collins- Media & Communications Mgr.