Is your water or electric power turned off? Bankruptcy can help. As soon as you file bankruptcy the utility company must restore your service. If the company is threatening to shut off your water, power or gas, then the bankruptcy will stop the cutoff process. The bankruptcy can also wipe out the bills owed to the utility company so you won’t have to make the back payments.
There is one catch. If you want to continue to receive water, gas, or power in the future the city or company can make you put a deposit for future service. The size of the deposit is dependent on how much your average bills were, but is usually somewhere between $150 and $300. If you had a water leak and your past due bill is $1,000.00, then posting a new deposit of a couple of hundred dollars is a lot better than paying the old bill. You will get the deposit back when you move.
Public utilities, such as the electric, telephone, gas, and water cannot refuse you service or cut off their service just because you file for bankruptcy and owe them money. But 21 days after filing bankruptcy the company can terminate the service if you do not put up a deposit or provide other security to insure that the future utility bills will be paid.
Federal law recognizes utilities as a public monopoly because people and businesses can’t easily go somewhere else to utility service for their home.
These rules don’t apply to services such as cable TV, internet or cell phone services since you can usually find someone else to give you service.