HIGH POINT, N.C. — After six months of non-payments, the city of High Point has started collecting utility payments from families who did not paid their utility bills.
The move comes more than a month after Governor Cooper’s executive order to halt collections expired in July.
High Point city leaders put off collecting payments as they worked on a system to make collections but not overwhelm families.
Families will get two different bills. One will cover the utility usage that month, and another payment will cover what they missed during March-July this year.
If one of these bills is missed, the city could come and shut off utilities.
The city reported a back payment of $3,650,000, from 2,455 families and businesses over that six-month period.
Margarie Jarrett is one of those 2,455. She lost her job in March and has not been able to get unemployment.
She said she scraped by “penny to penny to make it.”
The total of her payback bill is $1,149.78 split into six-month payments of $191.63.
Many others are in her similar situation and said they were caught off guard despite city leaders claiming they issued warnings to families.
The city began disconnecting some homes as early as Sept. 9. However, this was for families not having paid their August utility bill and was not a part of the backpay program.
According to a city notice on Tuesday, customers needing financial assistance can reach out to the following organizations:
- Guilford County Department of Social Service – (336) 641-3000
- Helping Hands Ministry – (336) 886-7696
- Open Door Ministry – (336) 885-0191
- West End Ministries – (336) 884-1105
- Salvation Army of High Point – (336) 881-5400
If customers need to discuss their account balance, customer service is available via phone at (336) 883-3111 Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and in-person Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (excluding holidays).