What Happens When You Don't Pay Your Utility Gas or Water Bill
Updated: Jun 8
It is important for homeowners to pay their electric, gas, and water bills on time. Failure to pay a bill on time may result in penalties, service termination, collections, and legal action.
When a customer fails to pay their bill, the company will send multiple statements and reminders and contact the customer by phone to discuss the outstanding balance.
If these efforts are unsuccessful, the electric or energy provider may refer the account to a utility debt collection agency, which may report the account to the credit bureaus and file a lawsuit. Depending on the case, a utility or collection agency may attach a lien on the customer's property or garnish their wages to collect the debt if it is not paid.
To avoid an unpaid electric, water or phone bill from being sent to a debt collection agency, a customer should resolve their unpaid bill as soon as possible. Suppose a customer struggles to pay their utility bill due to financial hardship. In that case, they should contact the utility company to discuss their options and try to work out a payment plan or other solution.
There are several options that utility companies may offer:
Payment plans: Utility companies can offer payment plans to customers who need help paying their bills in full. These plans allow customers to make smaller, more manageable payments over a longer period of time.
Assistance programs: Many utility companies offer assistance programs for low-income customers struggling to pay their bills. These programs may provide financial assistance or discounts on monthly bills.
Budget billing: This option allows customers to pay a fixed amount each month rather than fluctuating amounts based on usage. This can help customers budget and plan for their monthly expenses.
Energy-efficient upgrades: Some utility companies offer incentives for customers to make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes. These upgrades can help reduce energy consumption and lower monthly bills.
Referral to community resources: If a customer cannot pay their bills and does not qualify for assistance programs or other options, the utility company may be able to refer the customer to community resources that can provide financial assistance.