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August 1: Utility companies can start collecting & begin the shut-off process.

The Governor's moratorium on utility shut-offs and deferring of bills ends August 1. NC Treasurer Dale Folwell explains why some rates may go up.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — I want to make sure you have a few dates in mind. Tax Day is July 15.
And then there's August 1. Is this date not ringing any bells?

It's the day the Governor's moratorium on utility shut-offs ends and there will be no more deferring of bills for water, gas, power.

NC Treasurer Dale Folwell doesn't want you to be shocked by the bills or why utilities may raise rates to make-up for those who don't pay. “Unfortunately, in some areas, the sanitation, the water and sewer, the electricity and natural gas is not provided by some multi-billion dollar company, it's on the backs of the finances of the local city.” With people deferring their bills, it means big losses for utilities who are still having to provide those services.

For example, the City of Greensboro bills a little more than 100,000 residential customers for water.  Right now, 2,800 customers who would normally be on the shut-off list are still getting service. There is $700,000 in past due bills.

But check out Elizabeth City. The city serves about 10,000 residential customers with power and 30% of customers are not paying bills.

Elizabeth City leaders say if people continue not to pay their bills after the deferment is over, the city will have to raise rates for the people paying their bills, somewhere between 10%- 46% to make up for the shortfall.

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“There's a lot of hardship across NC, but there's a lot of people who their income has not decreased and anytime someone who has the ability to pay their bills, but doesn't, that puts more stress on the system,” adds Folwell.

Don't be surprised if you start hearing from your utility companies -- reminding you there is a bill to pay. It's best to get on a payment plan now before August 1 rolls around and shut-offs processes can begin taking place.