Cooper’s Executive Edicts on Utilities Causing Local Governments to Go Broke

RALEIGH – Unintended consequences. Depending on which action one takes, in a given scenario, there could be any number of them. Rest assured that when government take sweeping, hasty, and authoritarian action, there is going to be a surplus of unintended consequences.

Some of them could be seen from a mile away.

Local municipalities in North Carolina are facing insolvency due to Governor Roy Cooper’s emergency orders banning utilities from collecting payment during the mandated recession that was also ordered by the governor. Up to 30 percent of customers have stopped paying their utility bills in some places.

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From Carolina Journal:

“[…] Elizabeth City could go broke in August if Gov. Roy Cooper doesn’t lift restrictions on utility payments. 

The city isn’t alone. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the economy, Cooper banned utility providers from disconnecting or fining non-paying customers. His two executive orders shield people from losing water, electricity, natural gas, sanitation, or wastewater services through the end of July. 

The orders have cost local governments dearly. In North Carolina, 13.7% of customers aren’t paying their utility bills. Utility providers are waiting on $252 million in delinquent payments, and 884,088 reported households became eligible for disconnection in April and May

In Lenoir County, La Grange sued Cooper to overturn the restrictions, saying it couldn’t afford to repay its debt without collecting utility payments. In Pasquotank County, Elizabeth City applied for a waiver from the executive orders, warning it risked imminent bankruptcy.

“It’s a rainy day in Elizabeth City, what can I say,” Richard Olson, Elizabeth city manager, told Carolina Journal. “We’ll be broke. That’s the only way of saying it.” 

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