Governor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday an order that electric, gas, water and wastewater utilities will not be allowed to disconnect customers who are unable to pay during the next 60 days because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The order also 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 the same rules of the other utilities specified in the order.
“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 Governor 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.”
Additionally, the order encourages banks not to charge customers for overdraft fees, late fees and other penalties. Landlords are strongly encouraged in the order to follow the spirit of Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s order and delay any evictions that are already entered in the court system.
Governor 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. Today’s order follows the Governor’s Stay At Home order, which is in effect until April 29.
The Council of State concurred with the Order today.
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 today, waiving penalties for late filing or payments of multiple state tax categories. Learn more about this tax relief here.
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 at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, which includes daily updates on positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.