Can my utilitycompany legally shut off my gas which heats my house, ifI havea 1 year-old living with me?

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Can my utilitycompany legally shut off my gas which heats my house, ifI havea 1 year-old living with me?

DTE Energy.

Asked on January 5, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you utility company may be able shut-off your power even if there is a child living on the premises. While some groups of residents are protected during the winter, MI law does not outright prohibit winter shut-offs.  MI's Winter Protection Plan requires all of the major regulated utilities, including DTE Energy, to offer payment plans between November 1st. and March 31 to qualified residents, including:

  •  Anyone over the age of 65;
  •  Residents receiving cash assistance from the Family Independence Agency;
  •  Anyone on Medicaid or SNAO (food stamps); or
  •  Anyone with a household income at or below 150% of the poverty level.

The plan allows people to pay only a percentage of their bill during the cold months and pay the rest when the weather warms up. If you are on the plan and you abide by the rules, you cannot be shut off during that time. However, it doesn't mean you don't have to pay; so after March 31st, you're paying the rest of what you owe.

If you don't qualify for the Winter Protection Plan and you are struggling to keep up with your bill, let your utility company know as soon as possible so that you can work out a payment plan.


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