N.C. governor signs executive order to prohibit utility disconnections during coronavirus pandemic

Natural Gas Pipes
Posted at 5:58 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 17:58:40-04

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday another step to help families by prohibiting utilities from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during this pandemic.

Tuesday's order applies to electric, gas, water and wastewater services for the next 60 days.

It directs utilities to give residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills and prohibits them from collecting fees, penalties or interest for late payment.

Telecommunication companies that provide phone, cable and internet services are strongly urged to follow these same rules.

“This action is particularly important since tomorrow is the first of the month, and I know that’s a date many families fear when they can’t make ends meet,” said Gov. Cooper. “These protections will help families stay in their homes and keep vital services like electricity, water, and communications going as we Stay at Home.”

The order also encourages banks not to charge customers for overdraft fees, late fees and other penalties. Landlords are strongly encouraged to follow the spirit of Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s order and delay any evictions that are already entered in the court system.

Gov. Cooper was joined by Attorney General Josh Stein to announce the order and he thanked companies that have already voluntarily announced policies to prevent shutoffs, including Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, AT&T and local electric co-ops, among many others.

This order follows the governor's "stay at home" order, which is in effect until April 29. Cooper issued the order on March 27.

The Council of State concurred with the order Tuesday.

You can read the full order here and read an FAQ about the order here.

The N.C. Department of Revenue also announced expanded tax relief measures Tuesday, waiving penalties for late filing or payments of multiple state tax categories. Learn more about this tax relief here.

Residents are advised to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. For more information, please visit the CDC’s website and NCDHHS’ website, which includes daily updates on positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.

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