Many states prohibit utility shut-offs in cold weather, however, as temperatures begin to warm, people may be concerned about losing their gas, electricity and water service if they are behind on their utility service payments.
Bankruptcy Protection for Utility Service Shut Off
If you are facing an imminent utility shut-off along with other financial difficulties, you may want to explore bankruptcy protection. If you owe utility back payments and file for bankruptcy, the utility cannot discontinue your service simply because you are behind (11 U.S. Code § 366 – Utility service)
However, while this protects you from negative action being taken against you on past due utility bills, the utility company will require some form of payment assurance to keep your utilities running into the future. Payment assurance may be in the form of a cash deposit, a prepayment or another form of assurance the utility will accept. You may be able to work out state sponsored utility discounts offered to low income and the elderly to reduce the burden to you and your family moving forward.
Remember that you will have only a set number of days – typically 20 – from the time that you file bankruptcy to provide information to the utility service of your ability to pay your upcoming bills or they will resume shut-off activities. It is best to check with your local utility to inquire about the specific time frame in your area and what payment assurances they will accept.
Avoid Utility Disconnection
As many who have struggled financially can attest, it may be only a matter of days before the utility acts when bills are not paid. If you are facing an imminent shut off of your utilities and are considering bankruptcy protection for what may be a constellation of financial difficulties, you may be able to file a petition to jump start the bankruptcy process to prevent a utility from acting while you complete the rest of the bankruptcy documentation and provide the needed payment assurance.
Contact a Peoria Illinois Bankruptcy Lawyer Today
If you are proactive, you may be able to keep your utilities running while your past due debt, including utility debt, are being evaluated through the bankruptcy process. It is certainly worth contacting an experienced Illinois bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options. Contact the Peoria Illinois chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy law offices of Charles E. Covey for utility shut off help today at 309-674-8125.