If utility bills cannot be paid, are they still due when the executive order is lifted?

An executive order signed on March 31st by Governor Roy Cooper prohibits any North Carolina utility from disconnecting service or charging late fees for up to 60 days.

District Manager for Duke Energy, Jason Walls, said:

“We will continue to read meters and send bills, so it’s best for customers to pay what they can to avoid building up a large balance that will be harder to pay off later.”

Walls issued this statement, encouraging customers to contact the company if they are having trouble paying their bill:

“We understand that many customers are facing unexpected financial hardships. To help, we have suspended disconnections for nonpayment for home and business accounts during this time. Effective March 21, we will waive all fees for late payments and returned checks, and for credit or debit card payments for residential accounts.

“Suspending disconnections for nonpayment means that we’re allowing extra time to pay if customers need it. If customers are in an unusual situation and need assistance, we will work with them on an extension. We will continue to read meters and send bills, so it’s best for customers to pay what they can to avoid building up a large balance that will be harder to pay off later.

“It also means that we won’t disconnect customers’ electric service right now even if they haven’t paid bills that are overdue. But again, we encourage everyone to stay as up-to-date as possible with their payments to avoid building up a large balance for later.

“In addition, we are relaxing our usual timelines for payment arrangements. Customers who were recently disconnected can contact us to make arrangements for service restoration.

“We know this is a difficult time, and we are committed to serving customers and the communities we serve. If you are having trouble paying your bill, please contact us so we can work with you to develop a plan.

French Broad Electric also says customers should reach out if they need to make payment arrangements for when collection procedures resume.

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