Apr 06, 2021 : ** Aqua N.C. customers: Visit NCwaterquality.com for information and updates
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** Aqua N.C. customers: Visit NCwaterquality.com for information and updates
Apr 06, 2021
Aqua N.C. customers: Visit NCwaterquality.com for water quality information and updates.
Feb 23, 2021 : NCUC Order Suspending Disconnections and Providing For Extended Special Repayment Plans For Certain Vulnerable Residential Customers and Requiring Door Hanger Notices
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NCUC Order Suspending Disconnections and Providing For Extended Special Repayment Plans For Certain Vulnerable Residential Customers and Requiring Door Hanger Notices
Feb 23, 2021
View the following in PDF format.
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA UTILITIES COMMISSION RALEIGH
BEFORE THE NORTH CAROLINA UTILITIES COMMISSION
In the Matter of Investigation of Necessary and Appropriate Responses to the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19
ORDER SUSPENDING DISCONNECTIONS AND PROVIDING FOR EXTENDED SPECIAL REPAYMENT PLANS FOR CERTAIN VULNERABLE RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS AND REQUIRING DOOR HANGER NOTICES
BY THE COMMISSION: On June 14, 2019, Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC (DEC), and Duke Energy Progress, LLC (DEP), filed a Petition for a Limited Waiver of Commission Rule R12-11(m)(2) in Docket Nos. E-2, Sub 1214, and E-7, Sub 1210. The advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) installed by DEP and DEC enables the remote disconnection of electric utility service. Accordingly, the Companies requested a limited waiver of the Commission Rule R12-11(m)(2) requirement that utility personnel physically appear at residential customer’s premises on the day of disconnection and, in lieu thereof, authorization to initiate alternate efforts intended to inform customers of the disconnection. On November 15, 2019, the Commission issued an order granting DEP and DEC a waiver of the personal contact required by Commission Rule R12-11(m)(2), with some limitations. The waiver expires on June 30, 2021, unless expressly extended by order of the Commission prior to that date.
On March 10, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order (EO) No. 116 declaring a State of Emergency in North Carolina to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The EO stated it was effective immediately and “shall remain in effect until rescinded.” EO No. 116 at § 25. To date, EO No. 116 remains in effect.
On March 19, 2020, in response to EO No. 116, the Commission issued an Order Suspending Utility Disconnections for Nonpayment, Allowing Reconnection, and Waiving Certain Fees in Docket No. M-100, Sub 158 (Public Utility Waiver Order). The Public Utility Waiver Order required that “until the end of the State of Emergency or until further orders of the Commission,” all jurisdictional electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater public utilities immediately (1) cease customer disconnections for nonpayment of bills (Disconnection Moratorium), (2) waive the application of late fees for past due or delinquent payments (Late Fee Moratorium), and (3) provide appropriate notice to customers of these changes. The Commission further suspended individual regulations and tariff provisions that prevent or condition reconnections of disconnected customers. Finally, the Commission expressly held that “[n]o provision in this Order shall be construed as relieving a customer of their obligation to pay bills for receipt of any utility service covered by this Order.”
On March 31, 2020, Governor Cooper issued EO No. 124. In pertinent part, EO No. 124 required public utilities to report implementation information weekly to the Commission.
On May 30, 2020, Governor Cooper issued EO No. 142, which extended the May 30, 2020 expiration date of EO No. 124 to midnight on July 29, 2020, and required public utilities to continue to report implementation information to the Commission on a monthly basis.
On July 29, 2020, the Commission issued an Order Lifting Disconnection Moratorium and Allowing Collection of Arrearages Pursuant to Special Repayment Plans in Docket Nos. M-100, Sub 158, E-2, Sub 1228, E-7, Sub 1236, E-22, Sub 583, G-5, Sub 617, and G-9, Sub 767 (Order Lifting Disconnection Moratorium). The Order Lifting Disconnection Moratorium allows, in accordance with Commission rules, all jurisdictional electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater public utilities to resume customer disconnections due to nonpayment for bills first rendered on or after September 1, 2020.1The Order Lifting Disconnection Moratorium further mandates that “the Late Fee Moratorium shall continue in effect as to all jurisdictional electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater public utilities, including resellers,2through the end of the State of Emergency or until further order of the Commission.” Also, the Order Lifting Disconnection Moratorium requires all jurisdictional electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater public utilities, excluding resellers, to offer Special Repayment Plans to customers. Finally, Ordering Paragraph No. 10 of the Order Lifting Disconnection Moratorium requires all jurisdictional electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater public utilities, excluding resellers (Reporting Utilities), to continue to submit implementation information monthly to the Commission until further order.
At midnight on July 30, 2020, Section 2 of the Governor’s Executive Order No. 142 expired, including the reporting requirements contained in Section 2(E). Notwithstanding the expiration of EO No. 142, the reporting requirement contained in Ordering Paragraph No. 10 of the Order Lifting Disconnection Moratorium remains in full force and effect as to the Reporting Utilities until further order of the Commission.
On August 11, 2020, the Chair issued an Order Requesting Comments on COVID-19 State of Emergency Monthly Reporting Form and Requiring Submission of Designated Reporting Utility (August 11, 2020 Order), which noted that “[t]he Commission’s ability to monitor the impact that the State of Emergency and the coronavirus pandemic are having on public utilities and ratepayers is essential to the protection of public health and the financial viability of the Commission’s jurisdictional utilities.” The August 11, 2020 Order further found “good cause to request that all Reporting Utilities review the accompanying Draft [COVID-19 State of Emergency Monthly Reporting Form], provide questions and comments related to the clarity of the questions posed therein, and indicate the feasibility of the Reporting Utility to provide the information requested.”
Following the receipt and review of comments, on September 9, 2020, the Commission issued an Order Finalizing COVID-19 State of Emergency Monthly Reporting Form (September 9, 2020 Order), which requires that on a monthly basis or until further order of the Commission, all jurisdictional electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater public utilities, excluding resellers and Class C water and wastewater public utilities, shall submit the mandatory COVID-19 State of Emergency Monthly Reporting Form on or before the fifteenth day of the month following the reporting period. The reporting made pursuant to the September 9, 2020 Order is ongoing.
On December 23, 2020, the Commission issued an Order Requiring Additional Information on Residential Disconnections, Arrearages, and Payment Plans During the COVID-19 State of Emergency (December 23, 2020 Order), which ordered DEC, DEP, Virginia Electric and Power Company, d/b/a Dominion Energy North Carolina (DENC), Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc. (PNG), Public Service Company of North Carolina, Inc. (PSNC), Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina (CWS), and Aqua North Carolina, Inc. (Aqua), to respond to 14 questions about residential disconnections. Complete comments were received on or before January 14, 2021, from DEC, DEP, DENC, PNG, PSNC, CWS, and Aqua, as well as the Public Staff.
Finally, on February 11, 2021, DEP, DEC, and PNG (the Companies) made an informational filing in Docket Nos. M-100, Sub 158, E-2, Sub 1228, E-2, Sub 1258, E-7, Sub 1236, E-7, Sub 1241, and G-9, Sub 767 stating their intent to broaden eligibility for the winter disconnection moratorium, established pursuant to Commission Rules R12-11(l)(6) and R12-10(h)(6), by broadening eligibility to include all Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) and Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) beneficiaries. Additionally, the Companies will grant a 12-month payment arrangement on an opt-out basis for their outstanding balances prior to their April 2021 bill (for DEP and PNG) or their May 2021 bill (for DEC). The Companies explain that these measures are intended to remove the potential for a disconnection of service for nonpayment for the timeframe of the winter moratorium, to provide additional time to access LIEAP and other assistance funds, and to allow a transition to manageable payments for remaining balances at the end of the winter heating season. Finally, the Companies state that the Public Staff and Attorney General’s Office support this expansion of the winter disconnection eligibility and deferred payment arrangement plan.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
COVID-19 remains a serious threat to North Carolina communities, and the Commission has and will continue to monitor diligently the impacts of the pandemic on customers and on public utilities through the data reported through the COVID-19 State of Emergency Monthly Reporting Form. The Commission’s existing rules establish a winter disconnection moratorium on electric and natural gas utility service for some of the most vulnerable members of North Carolina’s communities in light of the risks posed to these customers by winter weather.3The Commission commends DEP, DEC, and PNG’s decision to broaden the winter disconnection moratorium to include all LIEAP and CIP beneficiaries. Further, in light of the ongoing and anticipated impacts of the crises created by the pandemic and as an extension of the customer protections already provided by the Commission’s rules, the Commission concludes that it is appropriate at this time: 1) to expand the winter disconnection moratorium — including the broadened eligibility criteria proposed by the Companies — to the largest regulated electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater utilities; and 2) to require certain customer protections, including opt-out payment plans with 18-month terms and on-premises notices.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED as follows:
1. That, effective immediately, for bills rendered through March 31, 2021, DEC, DEP, DENC, PNG, PSNC, CWS, and Aqua shall cease residential customer disconnections due to nonpayment of utility bills, except where disconnection is necessary as a matter of safety or where requested by the customer, where the residential customer can establish that the customer is unable to pay for such service in full and that the customer’s household is eligible to receive assistance (whether funds are then available or not) from LIEAP, CIP, or the North Carolina Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (NC HOPE) Program;
2. That, notwithstanding the waiver granted to DEC and DEP in Docket Nos. E-2, Sub 1214 and E-7, Sub 1210, effective immediately through March 31, 2021, DEC, DEP, DENC, PNG, PSNC, CWS, and Aqua shall place a service disconnect door-hanger at all residences within 24 to 36 hours prior to disconnection, advising residential customers of their options to avoid disconnection;
3. That no provision in this Order shall be construed as relieving a customer of the obligation to pay bills for receipt of any utility service covered by this Order, and DEC, DEP, DENC, PNG, PSNC, CWS, and Aqua shall advise residential customers of this obligation when setting forth their options prior to disconnection;
4. That DEC, DEP, DENC, PNG, PSNC, CWS, and Aqua shall offer residential customers meeting the criteria set forth in Ordering Paragraph No. 1, above, an extended repayment plan, based on equal, fixed monthly installments or pre-agreed fixed percentage of each monthly bill added to current charges, payable over no fewer than 18 months, unless the customer consents to a shorter repayment period, to repay the arrearages accrued during the COVID-19 State of Emergency (Extended Special Repayment Plan). Customers in compliance with an established Extended Special Repayment Plan shall be allowed to transfer his/her/their account, including the established Extended Special Repayment Plan terms, to a new service location. DEC, DEP, DENC, PNG, PSNC, CWS, and Aqua shall not use disconnections or any legal process to collect arrearages from a customer who is in compliance with an established Extended Special Repayment Plan. DEC, DEP, DENC, PNG, PSNC, CWS, and Aqua shall not report a customer to any credit reporting agency if and for as long as that customer is in compliance with an established Extended Special Repayment Plan. Finally, DEC, DEP, DENC, PNG, PSNC, CWS, and Aqua shall not directly or indirectly encourage or solicit a customer to use a credit card or other form of third-party financing or third-party extension of credit other than an Extended Special Repayment Plan as specified herein, as a means of paying arrearages; provided, however, that they may accept from a customer such alternative means of repayment initiated at the customer’s option and according to the utility’s existing policies with respect to the acceptance of such alternative means of payment;
5. That nothing herein shall be construed to impact the Late Fee Moratorium currently in effect as to all jurisdictional electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater public utilities, including resellers, through the end of the State of Emergency or until further order of the Commission;
6. That all jurisdictional electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater public utilities are hereby directed to make every possible effort to accept and enable customer use of all federal and North Carolina assistance programs, including the NC HOPE program, that have been established for distributing funds for utility assistance from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of March 27, 2020; the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021; and the anticipated relief package proposed by the Biden administration. Nothing herein should be construed to discourage all jurisdictional electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater public utilities from continuing to encourage eligible customers to access other sources of aid not expressly named herein, including but not limited to utility-sponsored and nonprofit programs;
7. That the Public Staff is hereby granted leave to file additional comments, as requested in its January 7, 2021 Initial Comments;
8. That DEC, DEP, DENC, PNG, PSNC, CWS, and Aqua shall provide notice of this Order’s content on their websites, shall further provide notice of this Order’s content by posting physically where the company does business with its customers, and shall ensure that their employees are trained to advise customers of their options consistent with the terms of this Order; and
9. That this Order is effective on the date issued, and the Chief Clerk shall serve this Order by electronic mail on DEC, DEP, DENC, PNG, PSNC, CWS, and Aqua.
ISSUED BY ORDER OF THE COMMISSION.
This the 23rd day of February, 2021.
NORTH CAROLINA UTILITIES COMMISSION
Oct 26, 2020 : The North Carolina Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program assists with housing and/or utility payments
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The North Carolina Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program assists with housing and/or utility payments
Oct 26, 2020
The NC Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program may be available to assist with your housing and/or utility payments. The HOPE program provides assistance to eligible low-and-moderate income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic by making direct payments to landlords and utility companies. People can apply for help by calling 2-1-1 or going to nc211.org/hope.
- People Served
- Water Connections
- Wastewater Connections
- Water Treatment Facilities
- Wastewater Treatment Facilities
- Miles of Main
- Public Water Systems (PWSIDs)
Aqua North Carolina Service Territory
Learn more about our commitment to improving water quality for our customers: NCWaterQuality.com
Aqua North Carolina, an Essential Utilities Company, serves more than 250,000 residents in 51 counties. North Carolina customers can pay their Aqua water bill online through WaterSmart e-billing or any number of convenient ways to pay.
Aqua North Carolina Cross Connection Control Program
Learn more about the Cross Connection Control Program
Cross Connection Control Program FAQs
Learn more about GenX: GenX Information
Learn more about lead and drinking water by reading our Lead Fact Sheet and watching our Lead Prevention Video.
Learn more about radium and groundwater: Radium Fact Sheet
Learn why Aqua flushes a water system: Flushing Fact Sheet
North Carolina Mandatory Drought Restrictions
Cold weather advisory: Preventing frozen pipes this winter.
For any questions or concerns relating to customer service, please call 877.987.2782
For any questions or concerns relating to customer service in North Carolina , please call our phone number: 877.987.2782.
Aqua North Carolina serves communities in the following counties: Alamance, Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Carteret, Caswell, Catawba, Chatham, Cumberland, Davidson, Davie, Durham, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Granville, Guilford, Henderson, Hoke, Iredell, Johnston, Lincoln, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Orange, Pender, Person, Polk, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Stokes, Surry, Transylvania, Union, Vance, Wake, Warren, Watauga, Yadkin and Yancey.
Water Sources: Consolidated rock wells (more than 1,600) and aquifers. The Fayetteville area is served by the Black Creek Aquifer and the Wilmington area is served, in part, by the Castle Hayne Aquifer. In addition, Aqua North Carolina, purchases water from other utilities to resell to its customers.
Aqua North Carolina Leadership Team
Director of Operations
Environmental Compliance Director
Central Area Manager
Coastal Area Manager
Western Area Manager
- North Carolina Utilities Commission
- Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question about Aqua America's North Carolina operations? We’ve compiled some frequently asked questions to help you learn about issues specific to your state such as hard water and drought. If you have a question not addressed here, you can reach us via the link at the bottom of this page.
Why is my water discolored, and what is Aqua doing to fix it?
- Please refer to this document, which discusses naturally occuring minerals in the groundwater.
Why is my water hard?
- Hardness is often a characteristic of groundwater and occurs naturally.
- As the water travels through the ground and enters the aquifer, minerals such as calcium and magnesium that are present in the bedrock dissolve into the water supply.
- These minerals that leach into the water give the water what is commonly called “hard” water. Other minerals that can cause hardness and discoloration issues are caused by iron and manganese.
What can I do to soften my water?
- Minerals often build up in home hot water heaters. The higher the temperature, the more likely these minerals are to build up in your hot water heater.
- Reduce the temperature of your hot water heater.
- Flush your hot water heater regularly.
- Purchase an in-home water softener.
How can I stop the staining that comes from my hard water?
- A product called Red B-Gone can be purchased from some local plumbing supply stores.
Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?
- Sulfates are a naturally occurring mineral in some areas of North Carolina.
- By themselves, sulfates are not a problem.
- However, when non-harmful, sulfur-reducing bacteria — which are also naturally present in the water — feed on the sulfates, it gives an odor to the water that is often said to smell like rotten eggs.
What is the drought status?
- In most cases, we have enough supply for reasonable use. However, some customers do not use water reasonably.
- The mandatory restrictions that impact all customers were mandated by the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC).
How do you handle drought violators?
- The NCUC has charged Aqua with policing violators. If an Aqua employee witnesses a violation in the regular course of our business, we will engage the customer to make them aware of their action. Aqua will then send the customer a letter that gets copied to the NCUC. The letter informs the customer that if we witness the violation a second time, Aqua will ask the NCUC to allow us to turn off their service.
What are you doing to find more water sources?
- In most cases, we have adequate supply for reasonable demand according to the Department of Environmental Health, which equates to 400 gallons per day for a 12-hour day.
Who’s responsible for the maintenance of grinder pumps?
- In most cases, Aqua owns and maintains your grinder pump.
- You can help keep costs down by not putting things like grease, dental floss, kitty litter, etc., into sinks, toilets and drains.
North Carolina Leak Adjustment Form