how to deal utility shutoff

Dealing the utility company is hard enough, but if you find the gas or electricity to your apartment shut off for an undisclosed reason, there’s a way to handle the situation properly

If you’ve ever rented an apartment you most likely know the hassle of having to setup a utility plan especially if you’ve just moved from another apartment and have to switch your plan to the new one.

On top of this, there is always the risk that the utility company could shut off your gas or electricity without notice. Fortunately, in that case you as a tenant have a few rights that the utility company has to abide by.

In Times of Emergency

If an emergency occurs wherein the safety or health of a tenant or tenants within an apartment complex is threatened, a utility company is under complete authority to shut off gas and electricity without notice.

This should be common sense especially if the apartment complex catches fire or suffers some kind of damage that could expose the gas or electric lines.

Typically in an emergency situation, the utilities are turned back on once the property is safe.

In Time of Non Payment

The reasons for why a utility company may shut off your utilities vary between 4 main reasons. These all usually involve the renter failing to make payment:

  1. Failure to pay your gas or electric bills for some period during the past 12 months
  2. Failure to make a payment under a deferred payment agreement
  3. Failure to pay equipment and installation charges relating to initiation of your utility service
  4. Failure to pay a required deposit.

Even in cases of failed payment, the utility company must still follow a specific procedure before they cut off your utilities:

  1. A 10-day written notice before shut-off
  2. An attempt to contact you or an adult in your household personally at least three days before the shut-off;
  3. An attempt to contact you or an adult in your household at the time of the shut-off. During December through March, if the company has not made personal contact prior to the termination, it must post a notice in an obvious place at your house saying your utilities will be shut off in not less than 48 hours.

If you have paid and the utility company is making an attempt to cut off your gas or electricity, obtaining proof that you paid is paramount to settling things.

On the other hand, if you dispute the utility companies charges, then it’s best to take initiative and handle it by calling them to resolve the dispute.