Title















Site Registration | Find a Copy | Event Calendar | Site Map
The Voice of the Black Community
NCBPA politicl ad

Local & State

Despite heat wave, utility shutoffs loom for 1 million NC homes
Moratorium's end exposes residents' services
 
Published Wednesday, July 29, 2020 8:22 pm
by Nadia Ramlagan | North Carolina News Service

PHOTO | AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION
More than 1 million North Carolina households could lose utilities with the end of a moratorium on shutoffs.

RALEIGH – As temperatures soar above 100 degrees in some regions, more than 1 million North Carolina households could lose access to air conditioning or running water when the state's ban on utility shutoffs expires Saturday.


Rory McIlmoil, senior energy analyst at Appalachian Voices, said Gov. Roy Cooper sent a letter to utilities on July 17, stating he would not extend the moratorium that’s been in place under an executive order since May.


“And that the only additional protection that would be in place would be a requirement that utilities offer a minimum of six months for customers to pay any unpaid debt that they had accrued during the moratorium,” McIlmoil said.


In the past three months, the North Carolina Division of Public Health reported, more than 1,200 residents with heat-related illness have been rushed to hospital emergency rooms. The elderly, low-income households and people with pre-existing conditions are the most vulnerable to heat-related health problems.


McIlmoil said prior to the pandemic, nearly 40% of North Carolinians qualified for federal home energy-assistance programs, and he believes COVID-19 has exposed a long-standing problem in the state over water, electric and gas bills that aren’t affordable. He said residents worried about their bills should contact their utility companies now.


“To set up a payment plan that can meet their needs; and just really, they need to be pushing their utilities and the governor to offer a more flexible, long-term payment plan where, even with a debt repayment charge, it doesn't increase their future bill by 10%,” McIlmoil said. “Something like that would at least smooth out the impact for folks.”


Joel Porter, policy manager at Clean Air Carolina added the coronavirus has underscored the need to integrate more renewable energy sources into the state’s grid.

“If we have cleaner sources of energy, more renewable resources of energy, then you’re not going to have people struggling to pay their bills like they are now,” Porter said.


Advocacy groups across the state are urging federal lawmakers to pass a national shutoff moratorium as part of the next COVID-19 relief package.

Comments

Leave a Comment


Send this page to a friend

Upcoming Events

read all
14

Chase Killough Trio

Join us Friday night on the patio for live music

15

CWWCHC National Health Center Week Celebration

Join CWWCHC for a drive thru community health

19

Is starting a business right for you?-SCORE virtual workshop

Is Starting a Business Right for You?

Latest News

read all

Honor John Lewis' legacy of civil rights activism by voting

Future of nation depends on participation

Panthers LB Tahir Whitehead's in a learning and leading mood

Adds experience to linebacker corps

A cheesy, creamy, stress-free and kid-friendly meal

Take the hassle out of dinner fare