The cost of utilities plays a significant role in the overall cost of living. In the state of Kentucky, $125 is the average cost of a monthly energy bill, $94 for a monthly natural gas bill, $49 for a monthly water bill, and $35 for a monthly Internet bill. These bills can quickly add up and place additional burdens on your already crippling debts. Read on to discover how your unpaid utility bills can be discharged and how a seasoned Louisville, Kentucky consumer bankruptcy lawyer at Schwartz Bankruptcy Law Center can help you seek relief.

What happens if I do not pay off my utility bills?

Firstly, you must understand the consequences of neglecting to pay off your overdue utility bills. They read as follows:

  • The utility company may place late charges on your overdue utility bills.
  • The utility company may commence collection activities against you (i.e., incessant phone calls).
  • The utility company may file a lawsuit against you to recover the amount you owe.
  • The utility company may change, refuse, or disconnect your services entirely.

For these reasons alone, you must promptly respond to a disconnect notice a utility company sends to you (i.e., within 10 days for electric and gas and five days for water, sewer, and telephone). You may respond by paying off the overdue balance, negotiating a payment agreement, or most notably, filing a bankruptcy petition.

Can my overdue utility bills be discharged after a bankruptcy filing?

If you are facing a serious issue with your overdue utility bills, then it may be in your best interest to file an emergency petition for bankruptcy. This is so the Kentucky bankruptcy court may immediately order a utility company to keep your services connected. In the meantime, you may be afforded 14 days to submit other necessary bankruptcy documents.

To effectively discharge your overdue utility bills, you must disclose them in your bankruptcy schedule. However, you must understand that only the utility debt you incurred before the date of your bankruptcy filing may be eliminated. Meaning that you may still be held responsible for paying off the monthly utility bills you receive throughout your bankruptcy proceedings. Further, the court cannot protect you from the activities of a utility company for the overdue bills you incurred during this time.

What are other ways I can resolve this debt?

Understandably so, you may believe that a bankruptcy filing is too drastic of a measure for your overdue utility bills. Well, you may rest assured knowing that there may be alternative resolutions at your disposal.

For one, the Kentucky Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEA) is a federally-funded program that helps low-income households pay their home heating and/or cooling bills. There are also winter-related programs such as the Home Energy Assistance in Reduced Temperatures (HEART) and Temporary Heating Assistance in Winter (THAW) programs.

At the end of the day, your bankruptcy filing requires a competent Louisville, Kentucky consumer bankruptcy lawyer in your corner. So please get in touch with us at Schwartz Bankruptcy Law Center.