Missing payment on a utility bill may not as big of a blow to your credit score as missing a credit card or car loan payment, but it certainly can be a nuisance. Most likely in the form of service disconnection. Once your service is terminated it can be easily reinstated by paying the bill, but what if you can’t afford that?
Lights Out, Lights On
Many utility companies require that the missed payments, current charges and any late fees be paid in full before they will return your service connection. That can be hundreds or more dollars, something you may not have.
You may be surprised to learn that bankruptcy can help get your service back, usually much faster than trying to slowly repay your debts to the service provider. Why? Because filing for bankruptcy requires that you list all of your outstanding debts, even utility bills. The service provider will be notified of your bankruptcy filing and may also be requested to reinstate your services while your debts are being managed by the court.
Filing for bankruptcy essentially alerts the service provider to your intent for debt resolution, which could mean that they lose the possibility for any repayment if the court discharges your debts without requiring you to pay. They stand to lose more by having your debts eliminated and then being required to show a zero outstanding balance. Once this happens, they cannot discriminate against future service and may only be allowed to require a small down payment to provide you with service.
If you have a utility disconnection pending, speak with a Tampa bankruptcy attorney to discuss your situation.