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Kansas shutting off cold weather protection

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- State officials are reminding Kansans who fall behind on electric and natural gas bills that they will lose some protection against shutoffs next week.

The utility-regulating Kansas Corporation Commission notes that Monday is the last effective day of the annual Cold Weather Rule.

The rule is in effect every year from November through the following March. It bars utilities regulated by the state from cutting off electric or gas service whenever temperatures are expected to drop below 35 degrees within the next 24 hours.

Disconnections may resume only if the temperature is forecast to top 35 degrees for the next 48 hours.

The rule also requires utilities to offer customers a 12-month plan to pay outstanding bills.