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Can the energy company force me to pay someone else's bill?

Osceola, IA |

I was renting a house with a few roommates and the electric bill was in one of their names. He failed to pay the bill, moved out and never canceled it. When I called, the company refused to transfer service or tell me how much the bill was because I was not him. It was winter so they never disconnected it on their own either. When they finally did disconnect it I called to have it put in my name and they said I had to pay the other bill. After multiple upsetting calls where I refused to pay it and in turn was made to feel guilty and put down; I finally just said whatever. I just wanted my power back on. I paid what I used this month but not that bill and they are turning it off again if I dont. Can they really hold me accountable simply because "I lived there" after all this?

To clarify the ex- roommate was fully aware the bill was still in his name and overdue. I asked him to take care of this a number of times.

Attorney Answers 1


  1. Yes. It's not that you lived there, it's, as you acknowledge, at least some of this debt is rightfully yours, regardless of whose name was on the account.

    Maybe you already paid your account-holding roommate your share and he kept the money. Sue him for his share, and sue any other roommates who didn't pay their share, in Small Claims court.

    PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU COMMENT, EMAIL ME OR PHONE ME. I'm only licensed in CA. This answer doesn't make me your lawyer, and neither do follow-up comments and/or emails and/or phone calls, and you shouldn't expect me to respond to your further questions if you haven't hired me. We need an actual agreement confirmed in writing before any attorney-client relationship is formed. This answer doesn't constitute legal advice, and shouldn't be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.