11 Year Old Outstanding Electric Bill

by Hubert
(Muscle Shoals, AL)

My local electric company, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, says I owe $484 from an 11 year old past due bill. I was never aware this bill exist. Can they still collect?

Comments for 11 Year Old Outstanding Electric Bill

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Jan 14, 2012
11 Year Old Outstanding Electric Bill
by: Debtcollectionanswers

A debt from 11 years ago is quite an old debt and based on my sources, the statute of limitations (SOL) on it has expired. This means that although the utility continues to have the right to ask you to pay the $484, it cannot sue for it given the age of the debt. And, if the utility does sue you, you can use the fact that the SOL has expired as a defense.

If you don't believe that you owe the debt, I would write to the utility and ask for proof that it is yours. However, when you do, don't offer to make a payment on the debt. If you do, you risk having the SOL on the debt starting running all over again, which would make you vulnerable to a lawsuit.

Owing money to a utility company can be tricky however, in that the company may have the right to deny service to you if you don't pay the past due amount. If I were you therefore, I would also check with the Alabama Public Service Commission to find out what the utility can and cannot do to you.

If the utility is entitled to deny you service if you don't pay the past due amount and if the utility provides proof that you owe the $484, you may be in a no-win situation, i.e. you will have pay the money to avoid loss of service. However, the utility may agree to let you pay the past due debt over time by adding an extra amount to each of your bills or you may even be able to settle the debt -- pay the debt in full for less than you owe on it. If the utility agrees to a payment plan or a settlement, be sure to get all of the terms of the agreement in writing before you pay anything.

If the utility cannot provide you with proof that you owe the money but it continues to demand that you pay the $484, I recommend that you get free consultation with a consumer law attorney.

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