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Can utility companies shut your service off? They can now!

There was a ban on utility shut-offs until July 31 for local and municipality-owned utilities.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — August 1 is the beginning of the month and the start of past-due bill payments being collected by locally-owned utilities. This does not include Duke Energy or Piedmont Natural Gas. Those utilities are still under a moratorium for shut-offs.

Chances are, your locally-owned utility is not going to disconnect your service as of August 1, but if you haven't called your utility and you have a past due account, you need to get in touch with them to set up a payment plan so your services aren't shut-off in the near future. Mike Borchers, the Director of Greensboro Water Resources and Tyra Clymer from Greensboro Urban Ministry joined 2WTK to help explain how the process works and what resources are available. 

In Greensboro for example, there are 3,300 customers who have past due bills and would have been shut-off if not for the COVID-19 ban. There is more than $1 Million in past due bills. 

"We encourage our customers to contact us if they are having difficulty paying their utility bill. We are ready and willing to work with them based on their unique circumstances. The Governor’s Executive Order calls for utilities to offer payment plans that extend up to 6 months for those who missed payments between 3/31/20 and 7/29/20. Plans can be extended through Jan. 30, 2021 provided customers honor the terms of their payment plan. We call it Promise to Pay plans," explained Borchers. 

Customers can call 336-373-2489 and ask to speak to a customer service representative regarding the utility bill. If customers are unresponsive, the process goes like this: 

August-September- the city will use door hangers, emails and calls to alert customers to their past-due accounts

October- if customers are unresponsive and owe more than $250 shut-offs will begin

November- if customers are unresponsive and owe more than $150 shut-offs will begin

December- regular shut-offs resume

If you are having trouble with your bills and need the assistance of Greensboro Urban Ministry, contact Chris Ringuette 336.271.5959 ext. 301 or email ringuette@guministry.org 

If you would like to help others who are struggling, you can make a donation to GUM.