As state protections expire, calls to 2-1-1 for utility payment assistance are surging in North Carolina. With a state moratorium on utility disconnections set to end on July 29th, 2-1-1 has seen a sharp increase in calls for help during the last week. From April 1 to July 20 – when the moratorium was in effect – utility payment assistance requests to NC 2-1-1 averaged about 58 per day. In the last seven days, July 21 – 27, average daily requests were 202, a 248% increase. Anticipation of the expiring moratorium may be driving the increase, and could be just the beginning of a sustained rise in utility assistance needs. The Washington Post reported last week that a million NC families have fallen behind on utility payments during COVID-19. Analyses for this report include 12,764 utility payment assistance requests received by 2-1-1 in North Carolina from January 1 to July 27, 2020, using data from a daily 2-1-1 tracking system. In the chart, each bar represents one day. Mouse over each bar to see the date and values.
Contributors: Rachel Garg, Balaji Golla, Matthew Kreuter