Will bankruptcy affect utility service?

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:35 pm
Filing for Chapter Seven bankruptcy immediately imposes what is called an 'automatic stay' on creditors attempting to collect what you owe them. If you're behind on a utility bill, and the company is threatening to disconnect your service, the stay will prevent disconnection for at least 20 days. Bankruptcy probably will result in your past-due debts to utility companies being discharged. While you're in bankruptcy proceedings, the utility may not alter, refuse, or disconnect service to you, nor discriminate against you, just because you have an unpaid debt to them in your filing. If your service was disconnected BEFORE you filed, the company must restore service within 20 days after you file, without requiring a deposit. After 20 days, they can disconnect service, unless you can convince them your future bills will be paid. You can usually demonstrate this by putting down a security deposit. If you feel the deposit is too much, you may have to appeal to the bankruptcy court to have your service reinstated. For more information about how bankruptcy can affect your utility service, contact a bankruptcy attorney.

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