Cold weather rule starts

As temperatures start to drop, utility bills for many will start to rise. Starting November 1, the cold weather rule will go into effect. The rule says that electric and gas companies cannot turn off your power if the temperature drops below 32 degrees.Energy companies are also required to reconnect customers service on more lenient terms.The rule also prohibits the disconnect of registered elderly or disabled customers who meet certain income guidelines and who also make a minimum payment.But officials remind customers that your electric or gas can be turned off when the temperature goes back above 32 degrees. And if you still don't pay your bill, it will not be turned back on.Ameren U-E stresses that you keep them informed about your situation. "If your utilities have been disconnected or might be disconnected you need to be talking to the utility company to prevent it. Because as long as you're making a good faith effort to try to keep them informed on your situation, providing them with information about how you might pay, or let them know you are working through low income assistance, most utilities will really work with you," Ameren spokeswoman Annette Sweet said.The cold weather rule was started in 1977.