Can you change electric companies when you owe money?

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asked Sep 27 in Other-Finance by Stumpenhorse (660 points)
Can you change electric companies when you owe money?

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answered Sep 27 by ButtPucker (960 points)
If you owe money to one electric company in the same service area and you try to change electric companies at that same address or service area then you won't be able to change the electric company or get electric service from that electric company until you pay off the electric bill you owe.

Unless you sign up for the electric in another family members name.

But if you move out of town or out of state and it's a different electric company then you can sometimes get electric service through them once you put up a deposit.

To get help to pay your electricity bill you can contact LIHEAP which is Low Income Home Energy Assistance program.

If you qualify for LIHEAP they can help you pay some of your electricity bill.

You can contact LIHEAP by calling them or going to one of their offices.

    Call the toll-free phone number at: 1-866-674-6327.
    Send an e-mail to: energy@ncat.org.
    Or you can contact your State's LIHEAP office.

Or ask around for help at a church, the Salvation Army etc.

Although the Salvation Army only pays around $20.00 of the electric bill which has been my experience.

But it still helps some.

Your utility provider may also know of programs to help you in your area so make sure to contact your electric company for information as well and let them know you're having trouble paying your electricity bill.

To stop your electricity from being shut off you need to make payment arrangements with the electric company.

Call up your electric company and discuss a payment plan with them and tell them you're having trouble with making the payments on the electric bill.

They can help refer you to places that can help such as the salvation army, churches etc to help pay the bill.

Some states have programs to help people who qualify to help with paying the electric bill.

If you can try getting a payday loan if needed to help pay the electric bill.

If the electric does get shut off then you'll need to pay the full amount plus other hook up charges to get service turned back on.

Since winter is coming there will usually be a cold weather rule if your state sees cold weather where by November 1st in most states the cold weather rule prohibits the electric and gas from being shut off.

Even if you can pay a small amount to the electric company it's better than paying nothing because you still owe the money but paying even that small amount of money such as $20.00 to $40.00 per month will keep the bill from getting out of hand.

The electric company or gas company can shut your electric off even if you have a child.

Having a child or children does not prevent the electric company or gas company from shutting off your electricity or gas service.

However if it's cold out and winter then most states prohibit the electric company as well as the gas company from shutting off services because you need to keep your house warm.

The cold weather rule in most states prohibits the electric and gas service from being shut off to your home when the temperatures are really cold.

However you still must pay the bills as your electric will be shut off and your gas will be shut off once the weather warms back up.

If your state has a cold weather rule and it gets cold out then no they cannot legally cut off your gas service in winter.

You still have to make payment arrangements with the gas company but if it gets below freezing within 48 hours then the gas service and electric service cannot be shut off for non payment.

It is illegal to turn you gas back on if it's been shut off for non payment.

If your gas service has been shut off for non payment and you turn the gas service back on then you can be charged with theft of services and tampering.

Most gas service companies will also lock the valve on the gas meter when they shut the gas off so you would need to cut the gas lock off to access the valve.

That is illegal as well.

If it's getting cold and you need your gas service then some states may actually require the gas service to set up payment arrangements and allow you to pay part of the gas bill to get the gas turned back on during the winter.

Some states have a cold weather rule that prohibits gas service and electricity from being shut off during cold weather which usually is from November 1st to March 31st

The dates of the cold weather rule do vary though from state to state but it makes it illegal for a Utility to shut off your gas service and electric service when you need them for heat during those cold months and they must set up payment arrangements with you during those times.

However you're still responsible for paying the bills and the electric and gas service can still be shut off after those dates are over and spring and warm weather come.

So make sure to work out payment arrangements with your electric company and gas company.

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