How Bankruptcy Affects Utility Bills in Philadelphia

How Bankruptcy Affects Utility Bills in Philadelphia

Some of our clients are having trouble with basic expenses by the time they reach us. This can include having issues with utility bills.

Fortunately, bankruptcy is meant as a fresh start. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are also structured in a way that’s meant to allow day-to-day life to continue while you work to get your life back.

Can the utility companies turn off my service if I include them in bankruptcy?

Filing a bankruptcy grants you a protection called an “automatic stay.” This is the same protection that keeps creditors from continuing to hound you. It temporarily stops repossessions, foreclosures, and shut-offs. In fact, filing for bankruptcy can keep your utility services on, though we may need to file an emergency petition on your behalf. If the utility company cuts off your services in spite of the automatic stay we can contact the bankruptcy court on your behalf, so we can get the situation corrected.

However, the utility company may take your security deposit to take care of at least part of your unpaid balances. You will also have to provide some sort of “adequate assurance” your utility bills will be paid. This could be in the form of a prepayment, a cash deposit, a letter of credit, or some sort of bond. You, the trustee, and the utility company must all agree on the nature of the assurance.

The security company can say your payment assurance is not acceptable; you may need to appeal to a judge for help.

You don’t have to decide what you can offer alone—getting advice on “adequate assurances’ is one of the great things about having a bankruptcy attorney on your side.

What will happen to my utility balance after bankruptcy?

In some cases, your utility balances will all be restored to “zero” after your case is discharged, either because the trustee pays them or because the debts themselves are discharged. However, if the utility company has already filed a lien on your house bankruptcy won’t wipe out the lien. It’ll remain until it’s paid.

Hopefully the bankruptcy will help you restructure your financial life in a way that prevents your utilities from ever becoming a problem again. This might also be a good time to address your patterns of utility use, so you can keep your balances as low as possible in the future.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to get utility services after my bankruptcy.

The law prevents utility companies from discriminating against you just because you’ve filed for bankruptcy. They can’t deny services.

They can, however, ask you for a fairly hefty security deposit before they’ll start service. Make sure you call and determine how much you’ll be asked for before you try to start services at another location. Many clients end up moving or downsizing during or after their bankruptcy; it’s good to know how much money you’ll want to put aside when it’s time to start over. The security deposit is usually somewhere between $100 and $250, but it can vary.

We’re here to watch out for you!

If you’re afraid your utilities will be shut off, if you’re about to lose your house or car, or if creditors are threatening to sue it’s time to call Sadek and Cooper for your free bankruptcy consultation. We can navigate you through this trying, scary time. With our help you can face a better, brighter financial future. Contact us today.

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Thomas Wright
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15:09 24 Apr 18
Sadek and Cooper Law did a great job on my bankruptcy case. I really appreciate their assistant. Thank you
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This form - specifically Yoninah Orenstein and Patrick Cooper are PHENOMENAL. They were great to work with, very fair with legal fees, and successful in getting an excellent settlement for my divorce (short term marriage
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Sadek and Cooper have been excellent. Everyone has been extremely helpful and patient. The lawyers I have worked with, Matt and Brad, are extremely knowledgeable. I felt very comfortable with them handling my case.
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Mr. Sadek was the best and most thorough lawyer I’ve ever met. He’s very human and caring about our case. His whole staff is great too. Highly recommend...
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My bankruptcy went very smoothly with your firm. No issues. You are all very nice. That’s why I recommend my sister to your firm and your now helping her too! Thanks again.
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14:14 28 Feb 18
This is an Excellent firm to work with; my questions were answered in a timely manner and I felt very supportive in handling my bankruptcy. I would highly recommend this firm to others who have found themselves in a position like mine.
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You are all super lawyers. Brad and Matt made me feel comfortable. Every one in your office so nice and just made it easy. You’re the best!
peter b
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19:42 21 Feb 18
Thank you, Sadek and Cooper Law offices for your dedication on my behalf. I appreciate Matthew and Patrick and your staff and all that everyone did to support me in this legal matter. You took an embarrassing, sad experience, for me, and turned it into a successful solution without all the emotional pain expected. After dealing with a loan modification company for over eighteen months without going to an attorney first that is the biggest mistake anyone can make. The Modification Companies set out to sell you lies, broken promises and dilute the homeowner's assets with no knowledge of any kind of law. I can't stress enough stay away from Modification companies, as a Military Veteran and family man, protect you or your family best interest. Go directly to Sadek and Copper you will not regret it! This firm moves with Super speed and diligence protecting you and your family's the entire process, even after watching some of these other attorneys in the courtroom appearing to mishandled their clients’ cases before the Trustee. You made it easy and I’m finally getting my financial life back on track! Thank you for your prompt replies to me, your clear information and preparation needed when at the courthouse. I would of course recommend you to others and I am glad you were the one who had my case. Kind genuine law firm who treats you like family. God bless you all and I pray for your continued success in your field of expertise. This firm is Super Lawyers for a reason. They are the best at what they do! Pete
Doug Tinlin
Doug Tinlin
06:55 15 Feb 18
Brad Sadek gave me hope when he decided to handle my mortgage for enclosure defense. I had exactly 10 days left of the 30 days ultimatum given me, but he was able to bargain for an extra 30 days for me to pay up. That duration turned out just right.
Jacinth Jacinth
Jacinth Jacinth
16:07 31 Jan 18
Excellent service. Brad and Matt were outstanding and friendly. They helped me through this. I’ve never met attorneys like these. Thank you!
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julie njoku
12:29 24 Jan 18
Brad Sadek is excellent!. He understands and he's fair. You feel like you have someone fighting for you. The staff is friendly, professional, and courteous. These guys are the best at what they do !
Owen Black
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20:14 09 Jan 18
Thanks for the great service! I would recommend this firm highly. Throughout the years I have been helped by this firm greatly and very much appreciated.
Steven Rychalsky
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15:30 09 Jan 18
Sadek and Cooper law office was a wonderful experience to work with. Bankruptcy is a difficult experience but they helped with the stress so much and made it easy. I would recommend Sadek and copper too anyone.
Chris Kourelias
Chris Kourelias
19:09 28 Dec 17
Working with both Brad & Matthew was a pleasure. Both gentlemen are extremely knowledgeable and helpful in providing me the right assistance needed to make the correct decision to benefit me in the long run. I would recommend both candidates to anyone looking for assistance with a reputable law firm.
Jennyfer Santana
Jennyfer Santana
21:17 21 Dec 17
Highly Recommended. Matt & Brad assisted with my case. I felt comfortable throughout the entire process. Matt was very understanding, patient, and ensured he answered all my questions! Both great guys and very friendly! It was a pleasure working with Matt and Brad.
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