The days are getting shorter — and when Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, they’ll be even shorter — and the nights are getting colder. Memphis winters tend to be milder than those in many other parts of the country, but every year, there are nights when the temperatures drop far below what is comfortable. On many of them, space heaters and extra layers simply aren’t enough.

As a Memphis bankruptcy lawyer, I believe utilities are a financial issue. I’ve met so many people who are afraid to turn on their heaters, even when they truly need them, because of money.

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to make ends meet, utilities can be a make or break situation.

In a report released last year, the Energy Information Administration found that nearly a third of U.S. households struggled to pay their energy bills. Those households dealt with the financial obstacles in different ways. 10% of them kept homes at unsafe temperatures. Others forewent other necessities, making the tough choice to reduce food or avoid paying for medical costs just to keep the energy on. For many, it was an ongoing issue. “Of the 25 million households that reported forgoing food and medicine to pay energy bills, 7 million faced that decision nearly every month,” the report stated.

If you’re struggling to pay utilities, bankruptcy can help.

Bankruptcy was created precisely to give people struggling with debt, including utility bills, a fresh financial start and a clear path forward. There are different types of bankruptcy, and both of them can help with utility bills.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to get rid of dischargeable debt, including credit card debt, medical debt, and utilities. At the end of your bankruptcy, any utility debt will be discharged, which means completely eliminated.

The other type of bankruptcy is a Chapter 13. This type consolidates mortgages and car payments into affordable monthly payments spread out over three to five years. In most cases, your utility debt will be lumped into that repayment plan. You will have to keep up with current utility payments during the Chapter 13.

Talk to a Memphis bankruptcy lawyer today.

If you’re unable to pay your utility bills this winter, it’s indicative of a larger problem. I’ve been working as a Memphis bankruptcy lawyer for more than 30 years, and I know that debt is not something that goes away on its own.

You’ve got options, and I’m here to help you navigate them. Call (901) 327-2100 or contact us online to talk to a Memphis bankruptcy attorney today.