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 30-45 days to pay it.

Cable/satellite and cell phone providers do NOT have to give you a new account; they can refuse future service.  However, my clients' experience has been that as long as your service has not been shut off, when you file bankruptcy the old past due balance is discharged and doesn't show up on your bill anymore and service isn't interrupted.  If you are paying on a phone, you still need to pay on it becuase that is like a secured debt - if you stop paying they can repossess the phone.

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. 


1701 West Market Street
York, PA 17404
Hours:  M-F 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Phone: 717-304-1841
Text: 717-304-1841  

The Fine Print

This is a law firm after all: This web site is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The law changes often, so please be sure to contact us for questions about your specific situation. You should NOT be making decisions about your financial life based only on the information on this web site or any web site. Seriously - don't do it. The law is complicated and is always in flux. This site is intended only for people who have legal matters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has adopted the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions, but not all states have done so. Be sure to contact a licensed attorney in your state, to learn about your state's bankruptcy procedure.

We are a DEBT RELIEF AGENCY under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Dawn Cutaia, Esquire has been a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 1996, currently limiting her practice to bankruptcy, foreclosure and civil defense, and pardons.  Suzanne Smith, has been an attorney licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennslyvania since 1992, currently limiting her practice to criminal defense, pardons/expungements, and bankruptcy.  Dawn Cutaia is the sole member of Fresh Start Law, PLLC, a professional limited liability corporation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.