Coronavirus Information Central – All News

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that he has signed an order prohibiting utilities from cutting off services for the next 60 days.

Electric, gas, water and waste water utilities will not be allowed to cut off services in that timeframe. Additionally, phone, cable and internet services are being encouraged not to shut off services during this time as well. You can read the entire order here.

“People should pay their bills, and the vast majority want to and do,” Gov. Cooper said. “But during this crisis, some just don’t have enough money.”

From the FAQ – The Order addresses the following:

  • Prohibits utilities from shutting off people’s electricity, natural gas, and water service for nonpayment.
  • Prohibits utilities from billing or collecting any fees, penalties, or interest for late or untimely payment.
  • Directs utilities to give residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills without owing interest fees.
  • Reminds customers they are responsible for paying bills for utility services received.
  • Requires utilities to inform residential customers of important provisions in the Executive Order.

The order also encourages the delay of any evictions that were in place before the order went into effect. It also urges banks not to charge overdraft, late and other fees during that time.

“Prevention is still the single most important thing that you can do right now,” Gov. Cooper said. “It’s vitally important that everyone take this order seriously, and obey it.”

Cooper announced that additional National Guard personnel have been activated as well.

Release from the Governor’s office:

Governor Roy Cooper today announced another step to help families by prohibiting utilities from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during this pandemic. Today’s Order applies to electric, gas, water and wastewater services 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.

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 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.

Read an FAQ about the Order here.

The NC 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.

Brandon Plotnick is a former sports journalist, now living in the digital space with interests all over the musical and pop culture map.