Can a utility company legally turn off electricity for non-payment in the winter if children live on the premises?

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Can a utility company legally turn off electricity for non-payment in the winter if children live on the premises?

Our electric company turned off our electric today. We have 3 kids, all under 5 years of age. We received no phone calls or cancellation notice. We had to pay $300 just to get it turned back on

Asked on November 3, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Wyoming

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Some states (the majority) do allow for utilities to be shut off even during the winter months. However, some states list such services as a "protected utilities" (iethose which cannot be shut-off during the winter months). WY is such a state that affords this protection, or at least limited protection. Pursuant to state law, electricity (as well as other utilities) cannot be shut-off during the months of November-April if the utility in question is home's main heating source, unless it can be reconnected the same day

Note:  People with limited incomes may be eligible for a variety of programs that provide grants to pay home energy bills. You should speak with your local social services office for further information.


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