Officials with the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities recommend that residential customers who are struggling to pay utility bills or are behind on payments should reach out to Customer Care Center representatives to discuss options, including various utility assistance programs, to bring bills current before November 15. Required public notice per DPU’s Rules on the Winter Moratorium Protection, specifically rule GR-13.06 C.(1)a reads as follows:
“Protection from winter shut-off begins November 15th of each calendar year. To avoid potential disconnection of services please contact the Utilities Department at 505-662-8333 for eligibility information for low income utilities assistance or for payment options. Your service will not be disconnected from November 15th through March 15th if you have no past due amounts or you remain current on any settlement or installment agreement for amounts due as of November 15th.”
While department officials in March 2020 suspended disconnection of utility services for non-payment while the New Mexico Governor’s executive order 2020-004 related to the coronavirus remains in place, staff will resume normal collections procedures once the executive order expires or is lifted. This could include suspension of services if a residential customer has not brought their account current or established an acceptable payment agreement.
“The concern is,” stated Deputy Utilities Manager Robert Westervelt, “that if the Governor’s executive order is lifted in January, for example, some customers may be subject to termination of utility services during the coldest months of the year.” Complying with the winter moratorium requirements provides a second layer of protection through March 15.
Westervelt clarifies, however, “To be eligible for this protection your account must be in current status, meaning either paid in full or current on an acceptable payment agreement by the later of the date that the Governor’s executive order expires or is lifted, or November 15, 2020.”
Customer Care staff is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. via phone and email at 505.662.8333 or CustomerCare@lacnm.us, and Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in person in the lobby of the Municipal Building, 1000 Central Avenue, Los Alamos.