By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) has a new tool to alert customers about utilities-related outages in their neighborhood or at their place of business. Whether it’s an emergency repair or a planned outage, that means no surprises, like walking in the door, turning on the tap and realizing the water is off throughout the neighborhood.
In late December, LCU will start providing utility alert messages to customers through three methods: first by email, second as a phone text message, and then a phone call - all specifically pertaining to utilities services. There is no charge for this service and utilities customers won’t need to sign up.
“We want to be sure customers understand these messages are only utilities-based and not an emergency management system that includes alerts by the Fire Department or even Public Works with road work,” said Jeff Dillard, LCU business system analyst.
Alerts are related to emergency service outages, planned service outages, or the status of a utility account - like an overdue bill or the day before service cut-off.
Dillard also explained the system is very interactive: When a customer confirms receipt of the email message through a click, there will be no other messages. If there is no response to the email, the message is resent through a text. Customers who respond they received the text will not receive a phone call. But, if there is no response to the text, then a phone call will be placed to alert customers.
“We’re using our active customer list to get the information on where to send alerts and establish even more accuracy by reaching out directly,” Dillard said. “Any changes that we receive are updated to the account and refreshed in the alert system by 5 a.m. the next day.” For example, if LCU discovers that someone is linked to two different accounts, they will get only one message in the future. The system also recognizes duplicate information when sending phone calls, limiting the number of times anyone is called with the same message.
LCU wants to provide timely information that will be needed by customers. Anyone who needs to update their contact information ahead of December can reach out to LCU Customer Central by calling 575/541-2111, sending an email to CustomerService@las-cruces.org, or come to City Hall, 700 N. Main St., or the East Mesa office, 5195 Bataan Memorial East.
Call Las Cruces Utilities at 575/528-3500 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
This is an example of what a phone text alert will look like. Get notifications on utilities outages for gas and water, and even reminders that a bill is overdue.
Note: This story was published Nov. 10, 2019 in the Las Cruces Sun-News.