CAMPBELL CITES NEW PSC RULE PREVENTING CUTOFFS DURING HEAT WAVES
As temperatures and heat indexes soared to dangerous levels this week, some Louisiana citizens have received relief thanks to a Public Service Commission rule sponsored by Commissioner Foster Campbell.
Campbell's rule, approved by the commission in February, prevents electric utilities from cutting off power to customers when the heat index is 105 degrees or hotter. The rule also stops electricity and gas cutoffs when winter temperatures drop below 32 degrees. "Hot weather like we're having now, from Grand Isle to Shreveport and Lake Charles to Lake Providence, becomes a life-and-death matter when you don't have electricity to run a fan or air-conditioning unit," said Campbell, D-Bossier City.
The National Weather Service is recording temperatures in the upper 90s and 100s across Louisiana. Heat advisories warning of the combination of high heat and humidity have been issued across the state. By 2 p.m. Saturday, heat indexes were at 105 degrees or hotter throughout Louisiana, according to The Weather Channel (www.weather.com): New Orleans, Houma, DeRidder, Mansfield and Shreveport, 109; Monroe, Lafayette, Opelousas and New Iberia, 107; Baton Rouge, 106; and Natchitoches and Alexandria, 105.
"Electric and gas utilities generally refrain from cutting off customers when winter temperatures reach a certain level," Campbell said. "Hot summertime weather in Louisiana can be just as harmful to human health. "This new rule requires utilities to be sensitive to this extreme situation." Campbell said customers who benefit from the rule are given extra time to bring their accounts current with their utilities.
"People who fall behind on their bills are not going to see their utilities cut off during this extreme weather," Campbell said. "They're going to be given time to catch up."