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Utility providers have a powerful method of forcing you to pay your utility bills—they can shut off your service. But you often have various ways to avoid such termination even when you cannot pay your utility bills and you also may have rights to get your service turned back on. Just as importantly, you should consider ways to reduce the cost of future utility bills. Your ability to catch up on past payments may depend on reducing future utility costs, and avoiding termination now may be only temporary if utility costs are permanently unaffordable.