Can a Utility Company Shut Off Service Because of My Bankruptcy Filing?

Question

I am current on my gas, electric, water, trash and phone payments.   I want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Can the utility companies disconnect my service because of my filing?  

 

Answer

While some creditors may refuse to extend credit to you because of your bankruptcy filing, utility companies cannot terminate your service just because of your bankruptcy filing.

The bankruptcy code specifically prohibits utility companies from discriminating against customers solely based on a bankruptcy filing. Nor can they refuse service because a customer files for bankruptcy.

If, however, you are behind on your utility payments, the utility company does have the right to terminate your service if, within 20 days of your bankruptcy filing, you don’t provide the company with "adequate assurance" that you will make future payments. To learn more about adequate assurance, see Using Chapter 7 to Prevent a Utility Shut-Off.

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