By Cassie McClure
Published in Las Cruces Bulletin 1.07.22
Maybe you’ve been curious but didn’t know how to ask: how does Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) calculate your accounts’ wastewater service charge? This is the perfect time to ask because what you pay is calculated from information that LCU receives from your account during December, January, and February – and if your account has an undiscovered leak now, it could affect your charge for the rest of the year.
“It’s the Winter Quarter Average that calculates the wastewater average for the rest of the year,” said LCU Billing & Receivables Supervisor Steven Valdez. That average comes from 90 percent of those three months’ billed for water use of the account.
This calculation is an industry-standard that considers an assumed lower, outdoor irrigation use during December, January, and February where. billed water is from your kitchen, clothes washing machine and your bathrooms that drain to the wastewater system.
Sometimes LCU customer service representatives will encounter a customer who has called in to ask about a higher than average bill. The representative will be able to determine if the winter quarter average from the past year had increased. There may have been a leak – maybe an irrigation line that ran underground and unnoticed during the winter that resulted in an increase to the charge for sewer. Winter is a good time to double-check outdoor and indoor faucets – along with toilets - for any drips that may affect your wastewater service charge.
Other times, the leak detection system will provide alerts to the staff monitoring the system, like LCU Management Analyst James Stafford. “Our system lets me know about higher than usual water usage, and I will reach out to customers directly,” said Stafford. He suggested that customers can sign up for LCU’s UtilityHawk system at http://LCUtilityHawk.com/ to monitor their water usage.
Note: If Las Cruces Utilities is not your water provider, but you are a customer for wastewater services, a default route average is applied. For those customers, LCU encourages them to review their bills from their water provider and determine if their sewer charge should be adjusted in the LCU billing. To update your wastewater charge, please bring in a copy of your water bill from your water provider and LCU can change the wastewater service charge based on your actual water usage.
LCU 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: How are your sewage rates calculated? It’s 90 percent of the billed water amount from December, January, and February, and it sets your service charge for the rest of the year.