On March 31, 2020, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 124, which prohibits all end-user providers of residential water, wastewater, electric, and natural gas utility services from disconnecting these services and from charging late fee penalties. The City of Brevard provides residential water and wastewater services to its residents.
a quick summary of Executive Order 124
- The EO applies to all county, municipal and special purpose local government water, wastewater, electric, and natural gas utilities (collectively, local government utilities).
- As of March 31, 2020, and at least for the next 60 days, a local government utility is prohibited from disconnecting residential utility services for nonpayment of the monthly (or bi-monthly) user fees.
- A local government utility may not bill or collect any fee, charge, penalty, or interest for a late or otherwise untimely payment on a residential account that becomes due on or after March 31, 2020 for at least 60 days.
- A local government must set up one or more reasonable payment plan options for its residential customers.
- A local government utility must reasonably inform its customers of the new prohibitions.
Mandated Customer Notifications
A local government utility must “reasonably inform their customers” of the provisions in the EO through the means that the utility providers typically use to communicate urgent messages to customers. That communication might be by email, text message, internet posting, phone calls, or other method normally used by the utility.
What, specifically, do local government utilities need to inform customers about?
- A statement that residential account disconnections for nonpayment are suspended, likely for at least 60 days.
- A statement that the local government utility will not impose new penalties for late payments or collect on penalties that were imposed on residential accounts as of March 31, 2020, for at least 60 days.
- Information about the local government utility’s payment plan options.
- A statement about whether, and under what circumstances, a local government utility will reconnect utility services that were disconnected prior to March 31, 2020.