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Is it true that in the state of IL your utilities cannot be shut off if you're in a bankruptcy?

Chicago, IL |

I am being told by various people (not attorneys) that your utilities cannot be shut off if you're in bankruptcy. I would like to know if this information fact or fiction.

Attorney Answers 4


If you are behind in gas, electric, water, phone, or other utility payments and the utility company is threatening to shut-off your service, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help.

11 U.S.C. §366. This law prohibits utilities from altering, refusing, or discontinuing service because you filed for bankruptcy or owe back payments that will be discharged in the bankruptcy.

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Filing a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy petition can prevent a shut off of utility service . Filing a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy petition can also result in the restoration of shut off utility service. HOWEVER, the debtor may be required to provide a deposit or other assurance of future payment. The action that is required to prevent a shut off may need to be taken within 20 days after the case is filed. The bankruptcy filing WILL NOT prevent a shut off if the utilities bills are not paid after the bankruptcy case is filed. The debtor must remain current on utility bills in the future. ALSO if the reason for the shut off is not non-payment of the bill, such as improper use of the service, a bankruptcy case will not get the service restored.

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NO, but they can require a security deposit and if you are behind post petition in a Chapter 13 then they could do a shutoff without you making payments.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Illinois. Responses are answers to general legal questions and the receiver of such question should consult a local attorney for specific answers to questions.

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Bankruptcy is Federal law and therefore every state in the union has to abide by the bankruptcy code. Specifically 11 U.S.C. 366 of the bankruptcy code prevents a utility company from refusing, altering or discontinuing your service if you file a bankrutcy. But it goes on to say that the utility company can require a deposit but must give you 20 days to come up with the deposit.

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