By Cassie McClure
Published in the Las Cruces Bulletin 2/5/21
As residents in Las Cruces try to find a new normal, part of the recovery will include making sure any delayed utility bills are up to date and paid. While shut-offs of utility services have been halted by a mandate from City Council in March 2020, Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) wants to make sure that those who may need help due to long-term pandemic difficulties are not unprepared when shut-offs do resume.
A conversation with LCU customer central representatives can be the best place to start. Steven Valdez, LCU billing & receivables supervisor, explained there is still funding through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was allocated by the state to the City of Las Cruces (City). The City received over $7 million dollars for COVID-19 response and relief efforts, part of which can be used to help residents who suffered a hardship due to the pandemic - such as job loss - between March 1, 2020, to December 30, 2020.
“Residents may be returning to their jobs but are needing to catch up on past bills,” Valdez said. “A conversation and possible documentation of the hardship may be used to help decrease the utility amount past due.”
The best way to get help is to call LCU Customer Central at (575) 541-2111 and determine the best payment option for you.
“Every account is unique, especially during this pandemic,” Valdez said. “It’s first about figuring out where they are now and what they’ve been through. We want to help people get back on their feet.”
“As LCU gets closer to a time when utility disconnections occur, it may be harder to navigate a payment process,” Valdez said. “By either receiving assistance with their bills or requesting a ‘Promise to Pay’ for those who know money will be available in the near future, such as a stimulus payment or a job starting back up as restrictions ease.”
Money will also be available for Doña Ana County (County) residents including those within the municipality of the city of Las Cruces, thanks to a $9.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Announced by the County at the end of January, the grant can help cover utility payments. The County will be announcing more details for the application process as soon as possible.
LCU can be reached at 575-528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: Are you past due with your bill? Call LCU Customer Central at (575) 541-2111 to find out the best payment option for you.