Can a water company turn my water off for my sister-in-laws very old, outstanding bill?

by Bonnie
(Chesterfield, VA)

I came home today to no water and my bill was paid and current. When I called the water company, they said it had to do with my sister-in-laws bill that was left outstanding and that I wasn't "responsible" to pay it but my water could not be turned back on until it was paid. It was over 3 years old and my sister-in-law had used my address for 2 months because she didn't have anywhere else to go. She is not living with me and was not living with me ever, she simply needed a place for her mail to come. Is this legal?

Reply from

Unfortunately it may be. In some cases, utilities can refuse service to addresses where there is an outstanding bill. It depends on consumer protections in your state, as well as whether the utility is public or private. We don't have that level of detailed information for you.

What we recommend you do is contact your state representative - this is the elected official that represents your district in your state legislature - and ask his or her office for help. You could also try your city or county government to find out if they regulate your water company.

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