S452: Utilities/User Responsible for Utility Bill. Latest Version



AN ACT to generally prohibit a local government that operates a public enterprise from billing a landlord for service provided to premises that the landlord no longer owns, leases, or occupies.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.(a)  G.S. 153A‑277 reads as rewritten:

§ 153A‑277.  Authority to fix and enforce rates.



(b1)      A county shall not do any of the following in its debt collection practices:

(1)        Suspend or disconnect service to a customer because of a past‑due and unpaid balance for service incurred by another person who resides with the customer after service has been provided to the customer's household, unless one or more of the following apply:

a.         The customer and the person were members of the same household at a different location when the unpaid balance for service was incurred.

b.         The person was a member of the customer's current household when the service was established, and the person had an unpaid balance for service at that time.

c.         The person is or becomes responsible for the bill for the service to the customer.

(2)        Require that in order to continue service, a customer must agree to be liable for the delinquent account of any other person who will reside in the customer's household after the customer receives the service, unless one or more of the following apply:

a.         The customer and the person were members of the same household at a different location when the unpaid balance for service was incurred.

b.         The person was a member of the customer's current household when the service was established, and the person had an unpaid balance for service at that time.

(3)        Attempt to collect payment from a landlord, whether a natural person or a company, for service to premises that the landlord no longer owns, leases, or occupies, except where the service for which payment is sought was provided during the time the landlord owned, leased, or occupied the premises. The provisions of this subdivision shall apply notwithstanding any agreement that existed between the landlord and the utility to reconnect service to the premises during the time the landlord owned, occupied, or leased the property.

….

SECTION 1.(b)  G.S. 160A‑314 reads as rewritten:

§ 160A‑314.  Authority to fix and enforce rates.



(b1)      A city shall not do any of the following in its debt collection practices:

(1)        Suspend or disconnect service to a customer because of a past‑due and unpaid balance for service incurred by another person who resides with the customer after service has been provided to the customer's household, unless one or more of the following apply:

a.         The customer and the person were members of the same household at a different location when the unpaid balance for service was incurred.

b.         The person was a member of the customer's current household when the service was established, and the person had an unpaid balance for service at that time.

c.         The person is or becomes responsible for the bill for the service to the customer.

(2)        Require that in order to continue service, a customer must agree to be liable for the delinquent account of any other person who will reside in the customer's household after the customer receives the service, unless one or more of the following apply:

a.         The customer and the person were members of the same household at a different location when the unpaid balance for service was incurred.

b.         The person was a member of the customer's current household when the service was established, and the person had an unpaid balance for service at that time.

(3)        Attempt to collect payment from a landlord, whether a natural person or a company, for service to premises that the landlord no longer owns, leases, or occupies, except where the service for which payment is sought was provided during the time the landlord owned, leased, or occupied the premises. The provisions of this subdivision shall apply notwithstanding any agreement that existed between the landlord and the utility to reconnect service to the premises during the time the landlord owned, occupied, or leased the property.

….

SECTION 2.  This act is effective when it becomes law and applies to attempts to collect payment on or after that date.