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Creditors and Bankruptcy/Post-petition electic bill


  I filed for bankruptcy on 5/4/11, which was discharged in August.  I have read online that a utility has to allow 20 days for the debtor to provide payment assurance, but can a utility continue the post-petition service for 45 days without requiring a deposit?  
  I realize that it might help some people, but in my case it is costing me more.  I had two electric bills in my name at the time, and Alliant Energy was notified on 5/12/11 of the bankruptcy.   When I tried to have the electric turned on in my other house, I was told that I would have to pay the $317 post-petition bill of the tenants plus the amount of their highest bill, which totaled over
$700.  I have been attempting to resolve the issue for about a month, to no avail.  
  Below is part of an email that I sent to Alliant Energy and his response.  
In your voicemail, you stated the bill was $314 for a 42 day period from May 4 to June 15, 2011:
5/4/11 Bankruptcy was filed
5/20/11 Told about the Deposit - 16 days - 119.68
6/10/11 Deadline for the Deposit - 21 days - 157.08
6/15/11 Service was transferred - 5 days - 37.40
I told the Alliant representative that I was not worried about the Division account, only mine that I was paying a deposit of $235 for.   This would make me responsible for $119.68, which I could probably handle.   So why wasn't the service turned off then?

• Southern Iowa District bankruptcy court informed us on 5/12/11 of your filing.
• The letter was mailed on 5/20/11 as required by the bankruptcy law and was due 6/10/13. You can reference the bankruptcy part of this law in Section 366 in the bankruptcy code.
• We do not disconnect customers until one week “after” the due date to allow for mailing time.
According to Paul at Alliant Energy, I was told about the required deposit on 5/20/11; and I informed Alliant that I was not concerned with the second account and paid the required $235 deposit on the account I wanted to keep.  Alliant ignored me telling them I would not be paying a deposit and allowed the second account to continue past the 20-days allowed by bankruptcy law.   In fact the service was not terminated until after the tenants called to transfer service on 6/15/11.  Am I obligated to pay the post-petition bill of the tenants in my other house that continued for 45 days after filing my bankruptcy?  
  I do not have the money to simply pay the bill; otherwise I would have done it several weeks ago.  I am on SSDI and was barely making by before the tenants moved out and leaving me with about $2,000 in repairs/replacements before I can even consider renting it out.  
  Thank you in advance for your assistance and suggestions, and feel free to be explicit.

Not making the adequate assurance payment is not the same as terminating the service.  It is always preferable to communicate in writing (or by email in your case) and as clearly as possible.  Stating that you are "not worried" about the second account neither rejects their demand for adequate assurance nor terminates the service.

You will be liable for whatever costs of service were incurred during that period, but I would try to work them down on any adequate assurance deposit, especially since it is now after-the-fact.

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Brian V. Lee, Esq.


Please note that I do not answer Private questions. All questions related to consumer and business bankruptcy, debt management, and personal finances are welcome. Serving clients in the DC-metropolitan area since 2005, I am licensed in Virginia and the District of Columbia. I have provided counsel to hundreds of clients with a wide variety of complex legal and financial issues. Feel free to visit my All About Bankruptcy blog for more information.


Serving clients in the DC-metropolitan area since 2005, I am licensed in Virginia and the District of Columbia. I have provided counsel to hundreds of clients with a wide variety of complex legal and financial issues. * Bankruptcy Chapter 7 * Bankruptcy Chapter 13 * Bankruptcy Chapter 11 * Bankruptcy Terms * Foreclosures * Mortgage Issues * How to Save Your Home * How to Rebuild Your Credit * Property You Can Keep * Car Repossession * Debt Test * Tips for Consumers in Debt * What to Expect in Court * Washington, D.C., Exemptions * Virginia Exemptions * Checklist of Key Changes in Bankruptcy Law * Changes in Chapter 7 & 13 Bankruptcy Law * Big Changes in Bankruptcy Law

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I am a graduate of Rutgers University and the George Mason University School of Law.

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