The City of Las Cruces Community Development Department and Las Cruces Utilities recently worked together with a contractor to help residents avoid facing potentially dire conditions and consequences.
In early February, an apartment complex housing 12 families, had repairs made to its gas service lines by a Las Cruces plumbing contractor. The gas service to the entire apartment complex had to be turned off while the repairs were being made, which meant the families living in the apartment units were without furnace heat, hot water, and gas for cooking.
The repairs took two days to complete. The apartment occupants included infants, children, adults, and elderly residents. The weather forecast for that week was a strong cold front with overnight temperatures in the low 20s.
The repairs were made. Unfortunately, the gas service inspection detected a significant leak and reinstating the gas service to the apartment complex would have been dangerous. Specialized equipment, including a gas pressure recorder/reader, was needed to detect the leak conditions.
The plumbing contractor did not have the required specialized test equipment and there was going to be a three-week delivery delay for the equipment to arrive.
The situation was reported to Community Development. After discussing the urgent conditions regarding the residents in the apartment complex. Community Development sought other ways to quickly find the specialized equipment for testing.
Community Development called Lucio Garcia, Deputy Director of LCU Natural Gas Operations and Maintenance, to ask if he knew of a testing method.
Garcia had an answer; LCU had the specialized equipment! An arrangement was made to allow the plumbing contractor to use the City’s equipment, with supervision from the LCU Natural Gas and Energy division, to perform the test, correct deficiencies and reinstate the gas service.
There was a happy ending. The gas service was turned on to the apartment units and residents had heat, hot water, and cooking, within hours. The cold front arrived the next day, but a concerning situation for the apartment occupants was abated.
It was a stellar example of teamwork between Las Cruces Utilities, Community Development and a private company responding and helping residents. It was world class customer service!