As we all know, utility bills run higher in winter, putting stress on home budgets. And when your power will not be turned off until April, sometimes putting off the gas and electric bills seem like a good idea. Eventually April comes, and you can find yourself hundreds, or thousands, of dollars behind on your utility bills, facing disconnection.
First, remember that WE Energies will send you notice of disconnection in your bill before shutting off your heat and lights. Open the bills, even if your behind. If deal with the situation early, you will have some options. If you wait till your power is off, you will have less options.
Second, call WE Energies and talk about the situation. WE just wants the bill to be paid. They may have payment plans for you or other options. Never be afraid to ask.
If you cannot work things out with WE Energies, call Croke & Croke. We can help you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to keep your heat and lights on. (We can also get your power back on, if it is already shut off). When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court issues an “Automatic Stay” that requires WE Energies to keep the power on, or turn it on immediately, if it is off already. It also prevents other creditors from contacting you. For more information on Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, go to our Bankruptcy Guide.
Remember, that WE Energies can require a security deposit after the bankruptcy to keep the heat and lights on. If you cannot pay the security deposit, they will turn the power off after the bankruptcy.
One last thing, in the past, we used to be able to file a Chapter 128: Debt Amortization to prevent disconnection. In 2010, the law changed, however, and a Chapter 128 Debt Amortization no longer prevents disconnection. Chapter 128 Debt Amortization is still a good program for other types of debts. If you want more information on Chapter 128, go to our Chapter 128 Guide.
If you want more information on disconnection, go to WE Energies' Disconnection page.
Originally posted 1/22/15