New order stops utilities from shutting off customers

By on March 31, 2020

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

At his 4 p.m. briefing on March 31, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper unveiled a new order that prohibits utilities from disconnecting people who are unable to pay their bills during this pandemic for the next 60 days.

The order 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. It also strongly urged telecommunication companies that provide phone, cable and internet services 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 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 to follow the spirit of Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s order and delay any evictions that are already entered in the court system.

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.

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