Governor Roy Cooper prohibits disconnecting utilities with new order

Xanayra Marin-Lopez, Reporter

At Tuesday’s media briefing, Gov. Roy Cooper, joined by state public health and emergency officials, announced his newest executive order that prohibits utility disconnections for the next 60 days.

His action orders that gas, electric, water and wastewater services can’t be shut off for those who are unable to pay. Cooper urged telecommunication companies that provide cable, phone and internet services to follow the same rules. The order also encourages banks not to charge overdraft, late fees and similar penalties. 

“Tomorrow is the first of the month, and I know that’s a day many families fear when they can’t make ends meet,” Cooper said.

Executive Order 124 directs utility companies to give residential customers at least six months to pay any outstanding bills and prohibits those companies from collecting any fees, penalties or interest from late payments. Customers are still responsible for paying their bills.

The order has been signed by Cooper and is in effect for 60 days.

As of Tuesday evening, there are 1,498 confirmed positive cases and nine deaths in North Carolina.