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Your Water Got Shut Off For Non-Payment. Now What?

woman looking for water

Losing access to clean, running water is more than an inconvenience – it can potentially be life-threatening. Unfortunately, residential water shutoff is more common than many people realize.

Water shutoffs occurred in approximately a half-million households in 2016, according to a study conducted by Food & Water Watch, and the problem has only grown worse.

If you’ve had your water shut off for non-payment, or you’ve received disconnection warnings from your utility company, what happens next? Here are clear answers to your water shutoff questions, including solutions to getting your water turned back on quickly.

Can the Utility Company Shut Off My Water?

Yes, your local utility company can shut off water to any home, business, or other location they serve. Most water is cut off due to non-payment, but disconnection can occur for other reasons, such as repairs.  

Every state, and sometimes individual cities or regions, has different laws regarding water disconnection.

How Late Can I Pay My Water Bill Before They Shut It Off?

Generally, you can miss about two or three payments before the early stages of the disconnect process begin (although keep in mind the rules for your local utility might differ).

Utility companies typically treat water disconnections like gas and electric shutoffs. They offer grace periods and payment plans, including income-payment plans, to help prevent shutoffs whenever possible.

No matter where you live, you’ll receive clear notices warning you of a potential disconnection. The utility company will attempt to contact you in multiple ways, such as by letter and phone.

Can You Be Left Without Running Water?

Many states protect certain vulnerable individuals from water shutoffs, such as the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and households with infants. You’ll want to check with your state’s local utility provider for specifics.  

Keep in mind individuals must provide proof of their qualifying status, which requires applying to a state program and sometimes providing medical documentation.

If you don’t meet your state’s qualifications, there is no limit to how long a water company can leave you without water.

Can My Water Get Shutoff Without Notice?

Rarely. Most states allow for no-notice disconnections only in specific, limited situations, such as:

  • Theft of water service
  • Fraud, such as obtaining utilities with a false identity
  • Water meter tampering 

Contact your utility company if your water is shut off, but you haven’t received a disconnect notice. Your water might have been shut off in error or for another reason unrelated to your bill.

What To Do When Your Water Gets Shutoff

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If your water company shuts off your water, here’s how to turn it back on. 

Contact your utility company. They likely offer repayment plans. If you’re eligible for one, you can get your water turned back on immediately. You’ll pay off your past-due balance in installments. 

Don’t wait to contact your utility company. The longer you wait, the more likely you’ll get charged additional fees, such as re-connect fees. 

Suppose you ignore an overdue water bill for too long. In that case, it will go into collections, which can quickly become a serious issue affecting your standing with other utility companies. You’ll likely want to pay the bill as soon as possible (strategies for doing this are below).

What To Do if You Can’t Afford To Pay Your Water Bill

Everyone wants to save money on their energy bills. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, sometimes your bill is still more than you can afford. If that’s the case, you have several options.

Utility Assistance Programs

Most utility companies offer many programs to help you keep water running in your home with manageable payments. Examples include:

  • Income-based payments
  • Payment plans
  • Assistance programs to lower your bill

Your utility company will make this information available via phone and website. Contact information will also be provided on any disconnect notices you receive.

Short-Term Financial Relief

Many people prefer to pay all or most of their overdue water bills together immediately instead of setting up a plan. Or, they need to cover fees, such as reconnection fees.

An installment loan from Power Finance Texas puts money in your bank account fast, so you can pay off your water bill or take care of any other financial need.

Installment loans can help you avoid having your water shut off for non-payment, bring your utilities up-to-date, and keep your home comfortable.

Apply for an installment loan from Power Finance Texas right now.