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Frequently Asked Questions

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You absolutely can discharge utility bills like electric, water, gas, garbage, cable, internet, phone, cell phones, and sewer in your bankruptcy (note that garbage or sewer balances that are paid directly to the township can eventually becomes liens on your property and then they may not be dischargeable).

When you file bankruptcy the utility company will create a new account for you and include only new charges (post-bankruptcy) on your account.  However, they may also charge you a security deposit which they will hold for a year and return to you if you have made on time payments for that year.  If you have even one late payment they can hold it until you have 12 consecutive on-time payments.  You may have to bug them to return it to you even after a year of on-time payments.  Note that this security deposit can be high, sometimes several hundred dollars, and you usually won't have more than 30 days to pay it.

Cable/satellite and cell phone providers do NOT have to give you a new account; they can refuse future service so keep that in mind.  You may want to arrange for new service through a different provider before you file bankruptcy.

If you have a shut off notice a bankruptcy will stop your service from being shut off.  However, you should let me know if you are facing a shut off because I need to fax a copy of your bankruptcy notice directly to the utility company.  Also, we need to give them as much notice as we can that you have filed bankruptcy because otherwise they may still turn off your service and it may take a few days to get it turned back on.  Met Ed/First Energy is notorious for claiming they never got notice of a bankruptcy so now I have two fax numbers and an email I send the notices to.