Is is true that Massachusetts law does not allow the utilities to shut off the heat for non-payment?
Massachusetts law prohibits utility companies from turning off heating utilities for non-payment in certain situations:
-If the consumer can show that she is unable to pay the bill AND that someone living in the home is under the age of one or seriously ill;
-If every person living in the home is over the age of 65; and
-From November 15 to March 15, the 'winter moratorium' is in effect, and utilities are prohibited from turning off gas or electric for inability to pay.
However, the companies can turn off the service for non-payment prior to November 15 and are under no legal obligation to turn the utility back on (unless one of the other situations described above applies). For more information about the law, including specific information such as how quickly after non-payment the company can shut off a utility, see 220 CMR (Code of MA Regulations) 25.0. For more information or to post a question, visit our MA Tenant Law Discussion Forum.