05 Nov Utilities Becoming More Aggressive About Collecting Unpaid Bills
A recent Wall Street Journal article entitled “More Utility Bills Go Unpaid” notes that electricity and natural gas providers are becoming more aggressive about collecting unpaid bills and more likely to cancel service for delinquent balances.
Utility companies that are public companies are facing increased pressure from shareholders to maintain profitibility in the face of falling share prices, and non-public utilities are working to avoid situations where customers get deep into debt with their utilities.
In addition, many utilities are installing digital meters in homes and businesses which will allow for remote shutoffs, or reduced power flow. This new technology will avoid the need for service technicians to personally visit a home to shut off the power or gas.
Speaking from the perspective as a bankruptcy lawyer, I think that utilities are using their position as providers of essential services to encourage cash strapped consumers to direct limited resources to paying utility bills. Presumably if consumers know that their power will be shut off if they don’t pay the bill, those consumers will pay the power company before paying the credit card bill.
Jonathan Ginsberg, Esq.
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