Governor signs executive order prohibiting utilities from shutting off service

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Gov. Cooper announced new executive order on March 31, 2020 (Photo: WNCN)

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Those financially impacted during the coronavirus pandemic are receiving some relief from the state.

On Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order prohibiting utilities from shutting off service to people who are unable to pay. The Order applies to electric, gas, water and wastewater services for the next 60 days.

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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.