Is Your Utility Bill More Than You Can Pay?

I recently spoke with an Evansville resident who called asking for help with her utility bill.  Her last statement was three times what she normally pays. It was simply more than she could afford to pay and she didn’t know what to do next.

She called the BBB asking for advice.  We’ve learned from the many consumers who contact us that she is not alone. Extreme weather, rising prices, and job loss are just a few reasons individuals find themselves unable to pay monthly utility bills.  Since the hot summer months are not far behind us, we’ve heard from several in our community who are looking for help.

We’d like to offer the following tips and pass along resources below. As always, however, feel free to contact your BBB to learn more.

  • If you are having trouble paying your bill, first contact your utility company.  They may be able to offer a payment plan or discount on services.

  • Next, talk to your utility about a level billing plan.  (You will be billed the same amount each month based on estimated usage. You will either be paid or billed for the difference at the end of the year.) If they offer a plan that works for you, ask how you can sign up.

  • Ask the utility company for information on conservation. They will be able to provide tips for saving energy and money, especially during high-use months.

  • If you are still unable to pay and need assistance to avoid disconnection of service, contact the following organizations:

Related links:

Consumer Assistance Programs (FCC) 

Don’t Wait Until Winter to Prepare Your Home for the Cold! 

Your Utility Company and You 

Assistance Resources During Financial Hardship 

Written by

Beth was Director of BBB Services and wrote for the consumer education blog from 2008 to 2011. Beth also managed projects of the Tri-State Better Business Bureau Foundation, including the Student of Integrity Scholarship and senior citizen education programs, and she worked with local charities as a part of our charity reporting service.

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