Friday, September 26, 2014

What Happens to Utility Bills in Bankruptcy?

        Utility bills are treated just like the other non-priority unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills. When a person files bankruptcy, any arrearage in one’s utility bill is eligible for discharge. Furthermore, Section 366 of the Bankruptcy states that a utilty company may not shut off water, electric, or any service for a debtor’s filing of bankruptcy. Therefore, your bill goes to zero and you start anew. But from then on, your utility company may shut off service if you miss any future payments like normal. Additionally, the utility company has the right to require a reasonable deposit, in order for you to keep your service.

       One thing you must watch out for, however, is filing a chapter 13 case. When a person files a chapter 13 case, the non-priority unsecured creditors are not allowed to charge additional interest, penalties, or other charges. The balance at the date of filing, is the balance until discharge. But, if a chapter 13 case gets dismissed, then the creditors are allowed to add to that balance, all the interest that accrued while the bankruptcy was active.

        That means, if you filed bankruptcy, lasted two years in a payment plan, and your owed utility bill was $500 when filed, then if the case gets dismissed, you will owe on top of the $500, an additional two years of accrued interest and late fees! That could easily take the $500 bill up to $800 or more. The highest I’ve personally seen was about $1,800. That also means your lights will likely be turned off if your chapter 13 case gets dismissed.

For more information be sure to call a Nashville Bankruptcy Attorney in Nashville TN.


  1. Very Informative Blog about bankruptcy utility bills. When a person files bankruptcy, any arrearage in one’s utility bill is eligible for discharge which is treated just like the other non-priority unsecured debts.

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