COVID-19 Resources

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This page was created to compile resources and information for water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities operating under COVID-19 (coronavirus) circumstances. Check back frequently for updates and new resources. This page was last updated June 23, 2020.

 

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Report

COVID-19 and North Carolina Utilities: Impact Assessment of the Coronavirus Pandemic on North Carolina Water and Wastewater Utilities through July 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly and persistently disrupted many aspects of water and wastewater utility operations and finance since at least March 2020. In North Carolina, utilities have experienced growing amounts of payment arrears and growing numbers of customers that would normally have been eligible for disconnections due to non-payment but were shielded by North Carolina Governor’s Executive Orders 124 and 142 (EO 124/142). A detailed statewide analysis by the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (EFC) found a variety of financial impacts  resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic on hundreds of drinking water and wastewater utilities across the state, including the effects of EO 124/142 during its full implementation period between March 31 and July 29, 2020.

 

Polls

Monthly tracking of customer payments, disconnections, and enrollment in repayment plans for North Carolina water and wastewater utilities. Please answer these eight questions. Results will provide findings to the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory, which disseminates expertise and knowledge to state and local government officials and policy-makers.

5-minute survey of how current conditions are affecting utility finance and management.

95 North Carolina utilities responded to six questions on the pandemic's effects on staffing, financial condition, revenues, next year's rates, customer payment plans, and capital projects.  

 

Webinars

July 28, 2020 | North Carolina's Expiration of EO124 / 142: Now What?
Important: Updated guidance on July 30 from the North Carolina Attorney General's Office on repayment plans for local governments (these were posted after the Zoom call)
North Carolina Utilities Commission Order to Commission-regulated utilities on continuation of moratoriums and repayment plans issued July 29
View the recording (does not include updated information presented in the guidance above)
View the slides (revised)
Presenters: Kara MillonziShadi Eskaf, and Sharon Edmundson (DST)
Topics: North Carolina Governor's Executive Orders 124 and 142 are expiring on July 29, 2020. Along with its expiration are the moratorium on late fees/penaltires and disconnections for non-payments of utility bills. The School of Government, the NC Department of State Treasurer and the Environmental Finance Center hosted this Zoom call to discuss the implications and next steps forward for local government water and wastewater utilities going forward, focusing on late fees, collections on delinquencies, disconnections, payment plans, and customer assistance programs. 

May 18, 2020 | Payment Plans under Executive Order 124 in North Carolina
View the recording
View the slides
Presenters: Kara Millonzi and Shadi Eskaf
Topics: Unless it is extended, EO 124 will expire on June 1, 2020. Many local units are focused on structuring, communicating, and managing payment plans for customers who incurred delinquencies between March 31 and June 1. There is not a one-size-fits-all model, but there are a lot of great ideas out there. And also a lot of questions! This Zoom call addressed these issues and facilitated information sharing. 

April 8, 2020 | A Conversation Regarding Coronavirus and How it Might Affect your Small Water System's Finances and Management
View the recording
View the slides
Presenters: Shadi Eskaf and Heather Himmerlberger
Topics: Coronavirus has upended all of our lives in a very short period of time, but water utilities are affected in very specific ways. During this national “Office Hours” style webinar, you will have an opportunity to voice your questions and concerns to two industry experts. Water personnel must keep working as the continuous provision of water couldn’t be more vital.  However, as others have been laid off or lost their incomes in one way or another, the utilities will be losing revenue and many will not be performing shut offs.  What might this mean for water system finances? How will your water system handle a deficit? Many small systems have 1 or maybe only 2 people who are familiar with the system, including where assets are, how it operates, etc. What happens if personnel are not able to work due to coronavirus or something else, such as an injury? Does the utility have a good map or an Operation and Maintenance Plan to help another operator who may need to come in and help but is not familiar with the system or the location of assets? Does the utility have an asset management plan it can rely on to help with continuing service? What emergency preparations have been made to date? What communications strategies have you considered?  

April 2, 2020 | North Carolina Utilities and Executive Order 124 for COVID-19
View the recording
View the slides
Presenters: Kara MillonziShadi Eskaf, and Sharon Edmundson
Topics: The Governor of North Carolina issued Executive Order 124 on March 31 that prohibits all utilities in the state from disconnecting water, wastewater, electric, and natural gas service to residential customers for at least 60 days, prohibits utilities from imposing late fees and penalties, mandates payment plan parameters, and imposes a new reporting requirement. This call presented information on this Executive Order requirements, offered legal and practical considerations, and discussed financial implications.  

March 23, 2020 | Water/Wastewater Utilities Operations in North Carolina During COVID-19
View the recording
View the slides
Presenters: Kara MillonziShadi Eskaf, and Sharon Edmundson
Topics: Legal (NC-specific) and financial (general) implications for water and wastewater utilities operating during COVID-19: Operations, Maintenance, Financial Sustainability, Customer Service.

 

Resources for Water Systems

Resources for small water systems by the Environmental Finance Center Network (Smart Management for Small Water Systems)

Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (WARN)

Coronavirus Compendium: Key Considerations for Water and Wastewater Utilities Responding to the Coronavirus (by Moonshot Missions)

 

Blogs

Environmental Finance, by the UNC Environmental Finance Center

 

Coates Canons - legal issues for North Carolina local governments by the UNC School of Government

 

Tools

 

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resource Webpages by Other Organizations

US EPA 

American Water Works Association

Water Environment Federation 

Water Research Foundation

Government Finance Officers Association

UNC School of Government - resources for North Carolina local governments

CDC