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Guide to the Rights of Utility Consumers

2006 1st Ed. 978-1-93169-787-3

Americans have seen their utility costs soar 50 to 100 percent or even more in the past five years. Many need to know their options to continue to heat and power their homes beyond just lowering the thermostat. This handbook details what consumers need to know about their electric, gas, and other utility services: shut-off protections, rights to restore terminated service, bill payment options, weatherization tips, rights to government assistance and much more.

Surviving Debt tells you what consumers need to know about:

The NCLC Guide to the Rights of Utility Consumers provides useful advice on:

  • Deposit requirements and use of credit reports by utilities
  • Bills owed by others or from prior addresses
  • Long-term strategies for bill reduction
  • Applying for the Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and other seasonal crisis funds
  • Disputing bills
  • Specific protections against termination
  • Rights related to heating oil, propane, and other deliverable fuels
  • A brief primer on telephone service and water utilities.

This handbook is written by two of the nation's legal experts on low-income energy and utility issues and NCLC staff attorneys, Charles Harak and Olivia Bae Wein.

Download the Table of Contents


"This easy to understand guide cuts through complicated rules and provides valuable information to utility consumers and front-line staff working with families in crisis."
— Vickie Allen-Beeson, Support and Development Manager, Indiana Community Action Association

"An essential book that will empower utility consumers and their advocates to solve their utility problems."
— Dr. Meg Power, President & Executive Director, Economic Opportunity Studies