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North Carolinians get some breathing room on overdue utility bills

Photo by Bubber of k9k.dk is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

As the calendar prepares to turn to August, the state Utilities Commission has extended a moratorium on the disconnection of electricity, gas, and water until September 1st.

The order is welcome news for thousands of households in our state as an executive order put in place by Governor Roy Cooper to prevent shutoffs expires this week.

However not everyone is off the hook.

This order applies to investor-owned electric companies – like Duke Energy and Dominion Energy – not to the state electric co-ops or municipal-owned utilities.

With the pandemic causing record unemployment, more than 1.45 million utility accounts in North Carolina have gone unpaid since Gov. Cooper first issued his executive order back in May.

The latest order from the state commission will also place a moratorium on late fees through the end of the State of Emergency.

And while the debt will not be forgiven, there will be flexibility for customers. Here’s an excerpt from the order:

…all jurisdictional electric, natural gas, water,and wastewater public utilities shall offer customers at least one Special Repayment Plan option based on equal, fixed monthly installments payable over no fewer than 12 months, unless the customer consents to a shorter repayment period.

Utilities are encouraged to offer additional options to best accommodate customers’ needs and financial situations

Read the full order from the NC Utilities Commission here.

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