Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!) (updated: 04/28/2015)

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Need Help!

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  • Need Help!

    My emergency petition was filed today, and I have a case number.

    However, I'm up for shut off on electric tomorrow, and the power company is refusing to honor the automatic stay. Their first question was who my attorney was and when they found out I filed myself, they are refusing to honor it. They told me I will still be shut off tomorrow. When I tried to give them the case number, they refused to take it down. They said that a judge has to sign off on it. When I spoke to someone else, he said they won't honor anything until they have the paperwork in hand that is mailed to them directly from the court... which will probably be received by them next week.

    Any advise?

  • #2
    I would have faxed the noticed of bankruptcy or at least something, in a writing, directly to the company's insolvency/bankruptcy department. They have actual notice. If they do shut it off, you will pounce with an emergency ex-parte motion and seek sanctions.
    Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
    Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
    Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

    I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


    • #3
      Hi JB
      Here where I live, I had to mail in the paperwork to the court, as they are only in the local office one day a month. I don't have a fax or anything, so I was waiting for them to mail this back to me. I probably won't have the copies until Monday. Do you think it would be up on that Pacer site already, and do you have any idea about how much it would cost to register and pull it off Pacer? Thanks for your help!


      • #4
        I'm going to start Google searching emergency ex-parte motions now.


        • #5
          Depending on the caseload of the Intake Clerk's office, at the Bankruptcy Court, your case should show in PACER in 24-48 hours. Once that Notice of Bankruptcy is issued, you can download that PDF, print it, and fax it to your electricity provider.

          There are some online fax solutions. I personally have used eFax although it's about $19.95/month. There may be other, cheaper, online electronic FAX solutions.
          Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
          Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
          Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

          I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


          • #6
            eFax used to do a free trial. Perfect for one-time issues like this.

            As for the electric company itself, did you ask specifically to speak to the bankruptcy department, not just collections? The case number is notice enough, and they would understand that if they shut you off at this point they'll be in a world of hurt, legally speaking. The guy/gal in the collections department might not know that.
            This post does not constitute legal advice. If you use this advice instead of that of a lawyer, God help you.
            Filed CH 7: 5/11/17 341: 6/12/17 Discharge: 8/14/17


            • #7
              Yes, I spoke to the one woman who runs the bk department at the power company. She informed me I would still have to pay the bill regardless, and I would still be shut off tomorrow morning. I told her she was violating bankruptcy code and she refused to even take the case number. She then said she would call back.

              I waited a while and called back and spoke to someone higher up that had a very bad attitude from the get go. He said they would not acknowledge my bankruptcy until they were notified, and I said: That's what I'm doing now. I did at least get him to take the bankruptcy case number but he said they would still shut me off. He then said he would call back.

              I waited an hour and nobody called me back. I then called in before closing time and spoke to the manager and she said both of them had left for the day, and I'm on the shut off list for tomorrow morning. They are refusing to honor the bankruptcy filing.

              Honestly I knew it was going to go downhill when one of the first questions was asking me who represented me. As soon as they heard "pro se" I was spoken to very disrespectfully.

              I'm searching Google now for the right motion to file, but I'm not having much luck. If it has to be filed through bankruptcy court, it's going to be another two day wait to even get to the right place in my state to file as it has to be mailed in for pro se.


              • #8
                I will add that the woman they have "in charge" of their bankruptcy department is even more clueless than me. I was astounded that she knew even less than I did. She told me I would still have to pay this past due balance until the judge signed off on it and the bankruptcy is discharged. I even asked them to hold off on the shut off until they had the correct information they needed to verify that I'm protected from shut off and they refused to do this.


                • #9
                  Stop researching the motion. That won't keep the utilities on. There is no fee to register for PACER and you have to have $10 or $15 dollars in charges in a quarter for them to bill you. If I remember correctly, if you have a credit or debit card, you can get access right away. I suggest you register and download the notice if it is available and fax a copy tonight. Then go back to your research.
                  LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                  Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                  $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


                  • #10
                    You filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, correct? If that is the case, the automatic stay began the moment you received your case number. And no, you do not have to pay any pre-petition arrearages, nor do you have to pay for any electric usage which took place prior to filing, but has not been billed yet. The electric company is required to take a current meter reading and zero out your balance owed. (Of course, you may be asked to provide a deposit after filing, but you will have some time to come up with those funds.)


                    • #11
                      Right, Chapter 7.
                      I signed up for Pacer but the records aren't online yet. It was just filed today.
                      As of the last phone call to the power company before they closed, they will be out in the morning to shut me off. One of the people I spoke to did take down the case number and bankruptcy court information, though I don't know if they actually wrote it down or not. The same person told me at the end of the call that they wouldn't accept it until a judge signed off of it and there was a discharge. I know there is something really wrong with what they are saying and doing.
                      I'm going to call an attorney tomorrow morning. It's just hard to believe I'm going through all this.


                      • #12
                        It's interesting that this is a story that I have heard before. I too had very similar issues with the BK department of a utility. Suffice it to say that they learned a hard lesson after the threats, continued billing, and "accidental" disconnect. It cost them about $3,000 in attorney fees and another $3,000 in sanctions (plus zeroing out 3 months of post-petition bills). Sadly, some utilities just don't get it.

                        Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                        Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                        Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

                        I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


                        • #13
                          I waited all morning and finally just called them, since nobody bothered to return the call they all said they would. I spoke to the woman who is "in charge" of the bankruptcy dept. She was very hateful and immediately on the attack from the beginning. However, I was able to find out that their attorney told them not to turn it off. So everything is resolved on that end. Thank you everyone for your advice and support.


                          • #14
                            Did they apologize for the threats?
                            Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                            Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                            Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

                            I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


                            • #15
                              Very unfortunate you had to go through this. I dealt with something similar with my electric company, but getting to the BK department fixed it real fast. City water was much easier to deal with. In Texas electricity is deregulated so I guess you're dealing with company-trained collectors vs. the city employees who are government trained and really couldn't care less if you're sticking the boss the bill.

                              Had to fax a copy of my petition to each, and pending shutoffs were cancelled. I switched my electric company as a week post-petition to get a more competitive rate. Maybe that's an option for you?


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