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Report: NC utility hikes shutoffs for nonpayment

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CHARLOTTE — A North Carolina utility has increased the number of shutoffs of natural gas service for customers who can’t pay in the cold weather.

The Charlotte Observer reported Monday that Piedmont Natural Gas shutoffs have surged around Charlotte.

The newspaper said shutoffs in the Charlotte are increased by 86 percent from November through February, compared to the same period a year ago.

Company officials say they think the increase has come because of the economy, and because of company policy changes that delayed some cutoffs until last fall.

State officials say the utility has done nothing wrong.

Piedmont vice president June Moore says the company hates to shut off service, but it is sometimes necessary.

The newspaper said other utilities had a drop in service disconnects in the same period.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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A North Carolina utility has increased the number of shutoffs of natural gas service for customers who can’t pay in the cold weather.

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