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Utility providers have a powerful method of forcing you to pay your utility bills—they can shut off your service. But you often have various ways to avoid such termination even when you cannot pay your utility bills, and you also may have rights to get your service turned back on, as set out in this chapter.

Your ability to catch up on past payments may depend on reducing future utility costs. Avoiding termination now may be only temporary if utility costs are permanently unaffordable. This chapter also explains ways to reduce the cost of future utility bills. And, it also mentions one tempting solution that you should avoid—do not let marketing pitches persuade you to switch electric or gas companies. Most likely you will end up paying more.