Executive Orders No. 124 and 142

May 30, 2020 – Governor Cooper Issues Executive Order No. 142 Extending the Prohibition on Utility Shut-Offs, Late Fees and Reconnection Fees thru July 29 and requiring monthly reports.


March 31, 2020 – Governor Cooper Issues Executive Order No. 124 Prohibiting Utility Shut-offs, Late Fees, and Reconnection Fees for Residential Customers of All Utility Service Providers

Consumer Information

Executive Order No. 124 was issued by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on March 31, 2020, and prohibits utility shut-offs for nonpayment for residential customers during the current State of Emergency, which was declared by the Governor on March 10, 2020. Executive Order 142 was issued on May 30, 2020 and extends the provisions of Executive Order 124 until July 29, 2020.

The Executive Orders further provide that a utility shall not bill or collect any fee, charge, penalty, or interest for late or otherwise untimely payment of a utility bill that becomes due after March 31, 2020, and requires utilities to provide customers an opportunity to make reasonable payment arrangements to pay off any arrearages accumulated.

In addition, the Executive Orders encourage utilities to reconnect previously disconnected service to the extent practicable and waive any penalties or reconnection fees.

The prohibition on utility shut-offs, late fees, and reconnections fees applies to all Utility Service Providers, which includes:

  • all political subdivisions, organizations, quasi-governmental entities, and businesses
  • that provide electric, natural gas, water, or wastewater services, as well as all providers of a combination of these services,
  • directly to end-user residential customers
  • regardless of whether the Utility Service Providers are investor-owned public utilities, are private companies, are member-owned cooperatives, or are owned and operated by a political subdivision of the State or a quasi-governmental agency,
  • and regardless of whether services provided are pre-paid or post-paid.

Additional guidance provided by the Governor’s Office can be found at the following FAQ:

If you are a utility customer and have any questions about disconnections, late payments, or reconnections, you should first contact your utility provider. If you are unable to resolve your dispute, then as noted by the Attorney General’s Office, contact the following if you have a dispute with a utility that is not regulated by the Utilities Commission:

  • If you get services from a municipal utility, contact your city manager’s office.
    Generally, town and county utility systems have broad authority under North Carolina law to establish rates, collections practices and service. If you have a dispute that can’t be resolved by working with the municipality’s utilities employees, you can appeal to the city/county manager, and possibly to the town council or county commissioners.
  • If you’re served by an electrical cooperative, contact the Rural Electrification Authority at (919) 814-4696.
  • If your utility is regulated by the Utilities Commission (Duke, Dominion, Piedmont, Aqua, Carolina Water, among others), contact the North Carolina Utilities Commission—Public Staff Consumer Services Division at (919) 733 9277 or (866) 382 9816, or by email at consumer.services@psncuc.nc.gov.

If you have concerns or a complaint about your utility’s compliance with Executive Order No. 124, please contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office here: NC DOJ - File a Complaint


 

Utility Service Provider Information

Section 2.E of Executive Order No. 142 requires all Utility Service Providers to report the following information to the Utilities Commission: (1) number of accounts by type (e.g., residential or business account) for which service termination was forborne, (2) number of reconnections by type of account, (3) amount of late fees and other penalties not collected, (4) number of accounts on an extended repayment plan, and (5) customer notification information. The North Carolina Utilities Commission is to report to the Governor’s Office on implementation of Executive Orders No. 124 and 142. These reports are available in Docket No. M-100 Sub 158.

Effective May 1, the Commission is transitioning to monthly reporting. By June 9, Utility Service Providers should submit their reports for the month ending May 31. Here is more information about completing the form.

The Executive Order has no impact on the Commission’s orders with respect to those utilities regulated by the Commission. Those utilities must continue to follow the Commission’s orders, including the same prohibition on disconnects for non-residential customers as applies to residential customers.

Any utilities with questions regarding interpretation of Executive Orders No. 124 and 142, please contact the Attorney General’s Office by emailing Ms. Peggy Force (pforce@ncdoj.gov) and copying Ms. Terry Townsend (ttownsend@ncdoj.gov).


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