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The COVID-19 pandemic had suddenly and persistently disrupted many aspects of water and wastewater utility operations and finance since March 2020. In North Carolina, as in many states, utilities experienced growing amounts of payment arrears, reductions in use and revenues from commercial customers, and challenges in staffing and working within the pandemic’s environment. North Carolina’s Governor issued Executive Orders that prohibited utility disconnections for non-payment of bills and charging late fees from March 31 through July 29, 2020, and required utilities to implement payment plans of at least six months thereafter to help customers catch up on paying arrears.

At various periods in the pandemic in 2020, the EFC conducted assessments on the conditions and challenges facing water and wastewater utilities in North Carolina, along with developing tools to help utilities with planning and presenting informational webinars to share timely information.

May 8, 2020 August 26, 2020 February 5, 2021

Poll on Early Effects of the Pandemic on NC’s Utilities by May 2020

Results of a six-question poll conducted between April 29 – May 5, 2020. In total, 93 utilities in North Carolina responded. Almost half were from systems serving fewer than 10,000 people.

Read blog post to see results.


Statewide Impact Assessment On NC Utilities Through July 2020

A detailed statewide analysis found a variety of financial impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic on hundreds (nearly all) of drinking water and wastewater utilities across the state, including the effects of Executive Orders 124 and 142 during its full implementation period between March 31 and July 29, 2020 that prohibited the use of late fees and disconnections for non-payment statewide. All data reported by utilities to the State following the Governor’s Executive Orders were analyzed and summarized in this report.

Download the report.

Read blog post summary.

Ongoing Impacts on NC Utilities Through December 2020

A continuation of the assessment on the ongoing impacts after the moratorium on late fees and disconnections expired. Report focuses on operations and financial implications of lost and delayed revenue, payment plans, and customer assistance. Information was gathered by interviews with staff from 16 different utilities and via an online survey filled out by 34 utilities from the months of August through November 2020. Also presents policy takeaways informed by the data that highlights the need for continued support for utilities and the development of customer and utilities assistance pipelines before an emergency.

Download the full report.

Download 3-page summary and infographic.

Read blog post summary.

Developed for the North Carolina Policy Collaborative.



Download Full Report for Assessments of Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic on North Carolina Utilities Download SummaryDownload Full Report


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