CanI legally run my home off a portable generator or can the city make me board up my house for not getting power through the municipal utility district?

UPDATED: Jan 27, 2011

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CanI legally run my home off a portable generator or can the city make me board up my house for not getting power through the municipal utility district?

I’m 65 years old,  on a fixed income, and permanently disabled. I have to be on oxygen 24 hours a day and have to have power so I can breath. Sacramento MUD (SMUD) recently cut my power due to my non-payment of the outstanding bill of $3500. I thought that I was getting 2 discounts (low income and disabled) but an error was made and I was getting neither. My son got me a generator so that I could breath and now code enforcement is telling me I can’t run the generator. If I don’t have the power on in a week they’re going to board up my home. Is this legal? Any suggestions?

Asked on January 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I do not think that the issues is the generator per se, although it may be against the city code to run it and that is a different issue.  I think they think that you are trying to circumvent the payment of the bill.  Listen, you are a protected citizen here under two different hearings: elderly and disabled.  Find a legal service that takes up either cause and let them a) find out why you were not given the discounts that you thought you were getting; b) find out if you qualify for any other discount and c) let them help you mediate a settlement here or bring an injunction against SMUD until it is ironed out.  Good luck.

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