What Happens to My Utility Bills if I File for Bankruptcy?

man reviewing bills

You may find yourself in an unfortunately grave financial situation that has you struggling to pay for necessities, such as your utilities. This usually results in a service termination, after your utility company has notified you that it plans to shut off your services and has waited 15 days for you to pay the overdue bill or make a payment agreement. Otherwise, you may be facing other penalties, collection activities, or legal actions. Continue reading to learn what happens to your unpaid utility bills and how an experienced Rockland County bankruptcy attorney at The Law Offices of Allen A. Kolber, Esq. can help relieve you from as much debt as possible.

What happens to my unpaid utility bills after I file for bankruptcy?

Of note, you may be able to keep your electricity, gas, water, and telephone services connected after you have filed for bankruptcy, even if you still have unpaid bills. This is because federal law holds that a utility company cannot refuse or shut off services if you are late on payments at this time.

However, this is only made possible if you list your unpaid utility bills as debts in your bankruptcy schedules. If not, the bankruptcy court cannot notify the utility company to keep your services on, seize collection activities, and seize legal action against you.

With this, it is worth mentioning that you may want to file an emergency petition for bankruptcy if you specifically wish for your utility services to stay connected. This is so you can immediately stop its shut-off while allotting 14 more days to file the rest of your necessary bankruptcy documents.

Also worth mentioning is that you may still be obligated to pay for utility charges that arise during your bankruptcy proceedings. This is because only the bills left unpaid before your bankruptcy filing are considered to be dischargeable debt.

What happens to my other unpaid bills?

Aside from your unpaid utility bills, there may be other bills that may be dischargeable after your bankruptcy filing. For example, you may no longer be responsible for paying off your overdue medical bills. The same may apply to your overdue credit card bills. Also, the judgments you receive from your overdue utility bills, medical bills, and credit card bills may be eliminated. Additional examples of dischargeable debt include the following:

  • Your personal loan debt.
  • Your tax debt, under certain circumstances.
  • Your student loan debt, under certain circumstances.

Specifically for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, there is a debt limit for all dischargeable debts. So if your dischargeable debts total less than $465,275, then you may only have to pay back a fraction of what you owe.

At the end of the day, your bankruptcy filing requires a skilled Rockland County bankruptcy attorney in your corner. So please get in touch with us at The Law Offices of Allen A. Kolber, Esq.