How Can Bankruptcy Keep Utilities from Being Shut-Off?

: Reese Baker & Associates

  Filed under: bankruptcy

When you’re drowning in debt from credit card payments, medical bills, student debt, or legal fees, it can be every in one’s power just to keep food on the table and the rent paid. One essential for living that is an absolute must, especially in areas of the country like Texas was the climate can be inhospitably hot, is keeping the utilities on and running. If you’re falling behind on your power bill, bankruptcy can keep utilities from being shut-off while you get a handle on your debts.

Automatic Stay

The automatic stay is one of the primary benefits of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It puts an immediate stop to bill collectors. The automatic stay keeps your mortgage company from selling your house at a foreclosure, your auto lender from repossessing your vehicle, and, unbeknownst to some, your utility provider from shutting off your light, gas, and water services. Additionally, the automatic stay also places a temporary “stop” on lawsuits against you by creditors. It’s important to note that the automatic stay is not permanent; once you have received your Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge, your automatic stay is lifted and any payments for property that you decided to keep will become due once more.

Preventing Utility Shut-off with Chapter 7

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can place an immediate halt on utility shut-off for up to 20 days. This provides a debtor time to either pay the remaining balance on past-due utility bills or file proof with the utility company that you have the ability to pay future utility bills. This “adequate assurance” usually represents an additional deposit. It’s very important to ensure you follow this step, as it will help keep your utilities on and running. Furthermore, your past-due utility payments can be discharged in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy, allowing you to get the fresh start that bankruptcy in Texas provides.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is One Option

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one option to keeping your utilities from being shut-off, however, it is a drastic one and shouldn’t be the first strategy you employ just to keep the lights on. Contacting your utility provider as soon as you are unable to make a payment and asking for more time, can typically afford you a few extra months. Additionally, there are several low-income home energy assistance programs that can help subsidize your monthly utility bill if you qualify. These can typically be found by contacting your local health and human services organization.

Contact a Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer First

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is, however, the last effort in eliminating debt if you are insolvent, or have more debts than assets. By contacting a Houston bankruptcy attorney before your debts arrive at the point of repossession or utility shut-off, you’ll be able to obtain a debt relief strategy that best applies to your unique financial situation.