utility security deposit

utility security deposit

When you file bankruptcy, you generally list all of your assets and all of your debts including all utility bills such as gas, light, cable, telephone and others.  In Illinois, the result is that the bill accrued prior to the filing date is discharged.  However, the cost of doing this is a 4 month security deposit equal to four times your average monthly bill.

Example:  A customer files bankruptcy on January 31, 2011.  Customer has been living in a new condominium conversion unit that has never been billed yet for electrical service.  On February 15, 2011; customer receives a bill for “estimated” electrical usage for the last two years.  What does the customer owe:

1) For the period of usage prior to January 31, 2011; the customer does not owe anything – the debt is discharged even though it was billed after the petition for bankruptcy was filed.
2)  For the period of usage February 1, 2011 to the present, customer owes all of electrical usage bill for this period.
3)  Security Deposit.  The customer’s average monthly bill is $100.00.  Therefore, the security deposit required typically within 2 months of filing bankruptcy is $400.00.  This security deposit is in addition to the actual bill that is also required to be paid.
4)  Two years from now, the customer moves.  What happens to the security deposit?  It is returned because it is the customer’s money.
5)  If the customer establishes electrical service at the new location with the same utility company, will the customer have to put down a security deposit?  Maybe, but probably no.  If the customer has a good payment history it is likely the security deposit will no longer be required.

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