Can You Get In Trouble For Turning Power Back On? Dealing With Utility Companies

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There are many reasons that can lead to power outage. It could be due to extreme weather conditions or disconnection by the power company.

While it can be tempting to try and turn the power back on, it’s not recommended. Especially if the utility company cut it off due to payment issues. And this has led many citizens to ask the question;

Can you get in trouble for turning power back on?

Yes, because the power meter is not your landlord’s property or yours. It belongs to the power company. Furthermore, if the power was disconnected due to non-payment, they use a tag to lock the meter. If you tamper with it to turn the power back on, it can lead to legal consequences.

Consumer Rights For Utility Disconnection

In some cases, consumers are protected against utility companies’ disconnection even if they are unable to pay their bills. Some of the special scenarios are discussed below.

1. Elderly households

It is not that easy for a utility company to shut off services in a household with people more than 65 years. For a company to cut off services in an elderly household they would need permission from DPU.

Make arrangements to notify the respective companies of the elderly people around to qualify for protection.

2. Serious illness or personal safety

Private water, electric and gases companies are not allowed to shut off your services if someone in your household is sick enough not to afford to settle the bills. The diseases should be considered as serious by a doctor for example PTSD and ADHD to be eligible for protection.

3. Families with infants

A household with an infant below 1 year old is protected against disconnections from utility companies. You will need to fill a protection form and prove the age of your child by providing a birth certificate, or official document.

4. Winter protection

Winter is the coldest seasons and the utility companies cannot cut off your services during this season. You may need to fill out a hardship form to get the protect

5. Landlords can’t disconnect your power

It is against the law for your landlord to cut off your power with a motive of forcing you to the apartment. This is termed as illegal forced eviction and can result to a civil law suit.

6. Renters’ legal right

If you are renting an apartment, you need to be notified of any upcoming disconnections. It is your right to be notified 10 to 30 days in advance of any disconnections.

7. Payment agreement plan

If you are struggling to pay your bills, you have the right to ask for a plan or programme for low-income customers. Each utility company has one that is aided to help those in hardship.

Electrical Saving Tips For Small Business

Electrical bills can be quite expensive if not given enough thought. Luckily there are plenty of ways you can save electricity both in your office and home.

It starts by being conscious of electricity bills and letting others know you intend to save on energy costs. Here are some tips for you.

1. Use energy-sufficient equipment

The simplest way to save on electrical bills is by using appliances that are energy sufficient. Check to see that all your household or office equipment are Energy star-rated.

This means that they have been inspected and approved to be energy sufficient. Think outside the box and install sensor lights to automatically turn off the light in areas like break rooms when not in use.

2. Conduct an energy audit

This is aimed at giving you a clear outline of ways to save energy at your premises. An energy audit is offered for free by many utility companies.

Full inspection is conducted by a professional to check for insulation issues and air leaks. After the inspection,  you will be in a better position to know where to start.

3. Take advantage of the natural sunlight

On a sunny day, if there is enough sunlight, you don’t have to turn on the light in rooms where the windows can provide sufficient light. You could also try to install polycarbonate roofing where applicable.

4. Get employees involved in energy-saving practices

You need to inspire your employees to adopt energy-efficient practices. This could be by reminding them to turn off computers and other machines after the end of the day. The collective effort towards saving electrical bills will have a great impact.

What To Do When Power Goes Out

Here are some tips that may come in handy during an announced power outage;

1. Investigate why the power is off

The first thing to do should be to determine whether it’s really a power outage or a fault in your own breaker. Check to see if your neighbors are also in the dark. After you have determined it’s an outage, you can now call the utility company to report it for action.

2. Turn off your appliances

It’s always recommended to turn off all the electrical appliances when the power goes out. When the power is restored, there is usually an electrical surge that could destroy sensitive electrical gadgets.

You can either turn off the circuit breaker or unplug appliances one by one. If you opt for the latter, leave one bulb on as an indicator to let you know the power is back on.

3. Prepare in advance

Always be ready to tackle the challenges that come with the power outage. This involves simple practices, and you can start by assembling an emergency kit.

You could store your spare batteries, flashlights, and a battery-operated radio, just to mention a few. Young ones may find darkness scary; prepare them by playing games like ‘lights out’ to prepare them.

4. Stand by generator

Installing a backup generator can be a great idea, but it’s totally your initiative. If you opt to install one, look for a certified electrician to properly connect it. Do not operate your generator inside your basement, garage or home.

Conclusion

Non-payment of the bills is the major reason utility companies cut off the power supply in many USA households. Adverse weather conditions could also lead to power outage.

You could land into some serious troubles if you try to turn the power back on and get caught. The best course of action would be to wait or try and expedite the process.

Many states have consumer rights that protect their citizens from power disconnection depending on the situation at hand.

Energy-saving tips shared in this article will come in handy not only for small business but also households.  A great way of saving few bucks on electrical bills.