Consumer Services Toll-free 866-380-9816 or 919-733-9277 Complaints about municipal utility systems, broadband and internet providers, cable or satellite television providers, wireless phone providers, or propane providers can be addressed to the NC Attorney General's Office by dialing 1-877-5-NO-SCAM (1-877-566-7226) or 919-716-6000. Complaints about electric membership corporations or telephone membership corporations should be addressed to the Rural Electrification Authority at 919-814-4696. How We Can Help Utility Consumers We can investigate your complaints against utility companies ... and then we help you to resolve them. Complaints may involve payment arrangements, billing disputes, deposits, service quality, unauthorized changes in communication services (such as "slamming), unauthorized charges for communications services (called "cramming"), and more. If you are being threatened with disconnection, we can help with that too. We cannot assist with ... We don't have any jurisdiction over municipal utility systems, broadband and internet providers, cable or satellite television providers, or wireless phone providers or propane. Complaints about them can be addressed to the NC Attorney General's Office, or by dialing 1-877-5-NO-SCAM (1-877-566-7226) or 919-716-6000. We also do not have jurisdiction over electric membership corporations or telephone membership corporations. These complaints should be addressed to the Rural Electrification Authority at 919-814-4696. Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) sign-ups open December 1 LIEAP is a federally funded program that provides for a one-time vendor payment to help eligible households pay their heating bills. Households including a person aged 60 or older or disabled persons receiving services through the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services are eligible to sign up for assistance from Dec. 1 – 31. All other households may apply from Jan. 1 – March 31 or until funds are exhausted. Households that meet the following criteria may be eligible: Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria. Meet an income test. Have reserves at or below $2,250. Be responsible for its heating costs. For more information, click here: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services/low-income-energy-assistance LIEAP is administered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and is not associated with the Public Staff or the Utilities Commission. If you have questions concerning LIEAP, please contact your local social services agency or the NC Division of Social Services. NOTE: The Public Staff cannot provide financial assistance to pay a utility bill. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has limited funds to assist qualified consumers with paying their heating bills during the winter through the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP). For more information, click here: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services/low-income-energy-assistance Contact Us with Utility Company Complaints Before You Call or Submit a Form You must attempt to resolve the problem directly with the utility You must be the account holder or legal representative. Have your billing statement and other relevant documents handy When calling, arrange to be available for 2-3 hours after you call, (although it may not take that long for us to contact you). Submit a Complaint Frequently Asked Questions about Complaints How long will the investigation take? You will be contacted as soon as we obtain a resolution most cases are resolved within a 24-72 hours period or longer depending on the complexity of the complaint. The utility company's given 10 days to respond back to us. When corresponding in writing: we will acknowledge receipt of your letter, within a week after we receive your written complaint. What contact will be made with the utility agent or company? In most cases, a letter and a copy of your complaint will be sent to the company or agent, requesting an explanation of its position. Telephone contact may be made to discuss the complaint, to ask questions, or to make specific requests. After the company or agent responds, we will determine what further actions, if any, we will take. Should I call to check on the investigation's progress? You do not need to call. We will keep you informed. If you have additional information, put it in writing. Are the Public Staff and Utilities Commission the same identity? The Public Staff is an independent agency created in 1977 to review, investigate, and make appropriate recommendations to the North Carolina Utilities Commission with respect to the reasonableness of rates charged and adequacy of service provided by any public utility and with respect to the consistency with the public policy of assuring an energy supply adequate to protect the public health and safety. The public Staff shall intervene on behalf of the using and consuming public in all Commission proceedings affecting rates or service. Do you regulate all the utility companies in North Carolina? The Public Staff has jurisdiction over most electric, gas, water/sewer, water/sewer resellers, telephone companies. You may refer to the regulated utilities list on the NCUC website. The North Carolina Utilities Commission does not have jurisdiction over municipal utility systems, electric or telephone membership corporations, propane gas, internet, cable television, cellular telephones, or DSL. My service is about to be disconnected for non-payment, what options do I have? It is important that a consumer contact the utility company prior to contacting the Public Staff Consumer Services Division to request an extension or payment arrangement. We also recommend you contact a local agency that can assist you with funds for the utility bill. Once you have done the above, you may contact us. Below are a few tips that will assist us in expediting this process. Please have this information ready for the analyst: A. Account Number B. Service Address C. Payment due date (before disconnection takes place) D. "Total Balance Due" amount E. "Past Due Amount" that needs to be paid to avoid disconnection of service or to reconnect your service . F. Provide analyst with the amount you can pay the utility company today. G. And notify the analyst by when you can pay the balance or if you would prefer that the amount be broken up to a 6 month payment arrangement. What is a "Facilities Charge" for natural gas utilities? The Facilities Charge is a monthly fee that is not just for expenses related to the meter located at your house, but also includes other costs that do not vary with the amount of gas used. These costs include utility plant investment, operation and maintenance costs, administration and general costs, depreciation, administrative costs such as billing, and property taxes. When rates are developed for all classes of customers (residential, commercial, and industrial), consideration is also given to those costs mentioned above that do not vary with consumption. Since these costs are incurred regardless of customer consumption, they are collected as a set fee even though a customer may have not used any gas in a particular month. These costs could be incorporated as a part of the per unit energy charge, but that would have a definite effect of increasing the energy charge. This would mean that when customers used natural gas their bill would be substantially higher in order to collect these approved costs. All regulated gas and electric utilities customers in North Carolina pay a monthly Facilities Charge and have done so for well over 20 years. The Public Staff audits the books and records of the Company in an effort to present to the Commission an accurate presentation of these costs in the form of testimony and exhibits in a general rate proceeding. When the Commission determines that these costs are just and reasonable, the Company is authorized to collect them. The Public Staff reviews the facilities charges and determines their appropriateness by using a fully allocated cost-of-service study to aid in the approximate cost responsibility by class and also within certain classes. The Commission and Public Staff strive to assign cost responsibility to the appropriate class of customers, including within class designations where practical and possible. In order for a company to remain a viable entity, it must first of all be in a position to cover its fixed costs, as well as having the ability to earn a reasonable return. What are these charges that appear on my phone bill? For a detailed description, please refer to the FCC website. If it's a telephone landline charge that is regulated by the state public service commission, please contact us. What are the Rules/Regulations that the Public Staff and Utilities Commission go by when looking into a consumer's complaint? Please refer to the NCUC website for a complete listing of the rules and regulations. Does the Public Staff provide financial assistance to customers? The Public Staff does not provide financial assistance to customers. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has limited funds to assist qualified consumers with paying their heating bills during the winter through the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP). For more information, click here: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services/low-income-energy-assistance LIEAP is administered by and is not associated with the Public Staff or the Utilities Commission. If you have questions concerning LIEAP, please contact your local social services agency or the NC Division of Social Services. Call Before You Dig (Mark Utility Lines) 811 or 1-800-632-4949 For Service Outage Call or visit their website. Progress Energy: 1-800-419-6356 Duke Energy:1-800-POWER-ON or 919-769-3766 Dominion (NCP): 1-866-DOM-HELP or 919-366-4357 For Rate Case information Please refer to the North Carolina Utilities Commission website and search for docket information.