By Cassie McClure
Published in Las Cruces Bulletin 04.29.2022
If you’re looking for help paying your utility bill, you might be eligible for relief funds. New Mexico residents have a new program that can help low-income households. New Mexico Human Services Department announced a temporary, federally-funded water and wastewater assistance program for low-income households to help offset the costs of water and wastewater bills, including your bill with Las Cruces Utilities (LCU).
“LCU urges residents who might still be feeling the residual economic effects of the pandemic to reach out immediately to see if they qualify for financial assistance,” said LCU Deputy Director Business Services Jose Provencio. “If they do, the payments will be made to vendors like LCU on behalf of households by the state. This increases our resident’s ability to stay current with their bill and manage to take some of the pressure if they are going through challenging times.”
The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a temporary, federally-funded water assistance program. Eligible households may receive a benefit of up to $1,500 each, to pay for reconnection of services and for arrearages. This includes all past due amounts, reconnection fees if applicable, and associated late fees.
Billing and Receivables Supervisor Steven Valdez further noted that even if LCU customers are current with their water and wastewater bill but still meet the eligibility requirements, those customers may also apply for the benefit. New Mexico will prioritize eligibility for households without water or wastewater services due to a disconnection, and those that have been notified of disconnection.
Low-Income Households will need the following to apply:
- Most recent copy of your water and wastewater bill, within the last 30 days.
- A recent payroll stub or other proof that shows your current gross income.
- Documentation showing income from Social Security, unemployment insurance, pension funds, disability, etc.
- Final Water Termination Notice (if you have received a shut-off notice from your water company).
- Proof of present address (e.g., rent receipt, lease or deed, property tax bill).
- Proof of total members living in your household (e.g., birth certificates, school records, etc.)
- Social Security cards (or numbers) for all persons living in your household.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.
Households may apply online for LIHWAP at www.yes.state.nm.us or by phone at 1-800-283-4465.
For more information about the program visit:
“It doesn’t hurt to see if you’re eligible for help even before the bills are past due, and it doesn’t damage your record in any way,” said Valdez. “Even if your account is already past due, reach out to this program and to LCU. Our team is ready to work with you to make sure that water for you and your family stays on.”
Other options residents can investigate: New Mexico also has the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that can help residents with gas bills and Doña Ana County has assistance through the Emergency Rent & Utilities Assistances Program.
LCU – Your Utility Connection. Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides clean, safe, and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at: las-cruces.org/180/Utilities
For emergencies, call Dispatch at 526-0500.
PHOTO 1: Are you worried about paying your water or wastewater bill? Even before you get behind on your account, you may be eligible for a temporary state program to help pay off your bill.