RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - Governor Roy Cooper on Tuesday announced that he has signed an executive order that will prohibit utilities from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The order applies to electric, gas, water and wastewater services for the next 60 days. A number of utility companies across the state have already announced plans to not disconnect delinquent customers.
Cooper’s order also 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.
Cooper also 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 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.