Published in Las Cruces Bulletin 11.18.22
By Cassie McClure
While we’re not doused in snow, the temperatures are dropping, and many people will use more natural gas to heat their homes. If you might have trouble with your bill in the next few months, don’t worry about losing the ability to have heat for your family. The New Mexico disconnection moratorium for residential customers started on November 15, 2022.
Between November 15, 2022, and March 15, 2023, if you qualify for the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), your natural gas account is protected from disconnection related to winter shut-off. The account is required to be current from any past due balances beginning the moratorium date of November 15, 2022, for the protection to take place.
“For those who have fallen behind on bills or foresee a gap in income, there are different avenues that LCU can help customers explore,” said LCU Deputy Director Business Services Domonique Rodriguez. “We work with each customer individually to find a solution that might work best for them and will provide information of local charitable agencies that also lend support.”
The assistance programs range from payment plan agreements to a promise to pay which is an extension on the billing due date, depending on a customer’s financial situation.
A conversation between a customer and LCU staff is easy and doesn’t take long. If you prefer to talk in person, head to either the Customer Central City Hall at 700 N. Main Street, open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or the Customer Central East Mesa location at 5195 Bataan Memorial West, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Customers can also discuss their situations on the phone by calling Customer Central at 575-541-2111 or by emailing Receivables@las-cruces.org.
If customers fall behind, LCU follows a procedure that notifies them of their past-due balance. The first point of contact is a past-due reminder mailed to their billing address. If there is no payment to their account, then 15 days later, the customer receives a door hanger allowing one business day before actual disconnection occurs. We encourage customers to please contact LCU staff as soon as an account is considered past due.
Payments can be made safely, and for free, online at las-cruces.org or by phone at 575-541-2111 and choosing option four (4) to make a payment – all free. For eligibility information for the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), please contact the New Mexico Human Services Department at 800-283-4465.
Lastly, help is also available through federal funds. The New Mexico Home Fund is a program, administered by the State of New Mexico, that helps renters and homeowners in New Mexico pay for their rent, mortgage, and utility bills. More information can be found here: https://nmhomefund.org/
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 starting to turn up the heat during the chilly nights but worry about how to pay your utility bill? Reach out to Las Cruces Utilities to seek payment options or see if you qualify for state or federal assistance.