Billing & Service Problems
Learn how to reduce the chances that you’ll have billing & service problems with a utility provider, and who to contact if a dispute does arise.
To avoid utility billing and service problems, or to stop them before they become larger problems:
- Pay close attention to your bills. Read all bills and notices that you receive from your utility company carefully as soon as they arrive. The sooner you catch a billing error, the sooner you can get it fixed.
- Contact the company first about any mistakes in your bill. Again, the sooner you contact the company, the easier and less expensive it will be to resolve your problem. Early action can also help you avoid interruption of your utility services.
For many consumers who find themselves in a dispute with their utility company, their next step will be to contact the North Carolina Utilities Commission. However, customers of utilities run by towns, counties, or membership cooperatives will use other steps since the Utilities Commission does not regulate these utility providers.
To resolve disputes with a utility company that is regulated by the NC Utilities Commission:
- Contact the Utilities Commission. If you aren’t satisfied with the response from your utility company, you can take your complaint to the North Carolina Utilities Commission. They can often keep the utility company from stopping your service while the complaint is investigated. Contact the Commission’s Public Staff at: Consumer Services Division
4326 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, North Carolina
27699-4300 (919) 733-9277 or
Toll-Free at (866) 380-9816
- File a formal complaint. If you aren’t satisfied with the settlement proposed by the utility, you can file a formal written complaint with the Utilities Commission. Be sure to state that you’re filing a formal complaint and include the company’s name, a description of the problem in numbered paragraphs, and the relief you are seeking.
- Send the signed complaint to:
North Carolina Utilities Commission
Attention: Chief Clerk
4325 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-4300
- Have your complaint heard. If the complaint cannot be settled, the Utilities Commission will assign it to a Hearing Officer for an evidentiary hearing. These hearings are less formal than a court hearing and you don’t have to be represented by an attorney. The Hearing Officer will issue a recommended decision in writing within a few weeks of the hearing.
- If you aren’t satisfied, file an appeal. Either you or your utility can appeal the Hearing Officer’s decision to the Utilities Commission. The Commission may schedule an oral argument for each side to present its legal points. However, the Commission usually accepts the evidence presented at the first hearing and does not allow additional testimony. The Commission will then issue its written decision in a few weeks. Appeals of this decision must be filed in the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
To resolve disputes involving utilities that are not regulated by the Utilities Commission:
- If you get services from a municipal utility, contact your city manager’s office. Generally, town and county utility systems have broad authority under North Carolina law to establish rates, collections practices and service. If you have a dispute that can’t be resolved by working with the municipality’s utilities employees, you can appeal to the city/county manager, and possibly to the town council or county commissioners.
- If you’re served by an electrical cooperative, contact the Rural Electrification Authority. Electrical cooperative members elect a Board of Directors to set bylaws, rates, and service rules. The Board in turn hires an administrator to manage day-to-day operations. To resolve a dispute with an electrical cooperative, contact the administrator first. If the matter is not settled to your satisfaction, the Rural Electrification Authority (919-814-4696) may be able to help.
We Can Help
If you’ve filed a complaint with the Utilities Commission Public Staff but still need help, contact us or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.