Bill spares them disconnection, hookup costs on utilities
An Air Force sergeant’s difficulties with utility companies in Alamogordo led to a reform bill that passed the state House of Representatives on Friday.
The measure would allow members of the military who have been deployed or given a
temporary assignment to discontinue and reestablish utility services
without paying a penalty or reconnection fee.
House Bill 175, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Steinborn, cleared the House 65-0. It next goes to the state Senate.
Steinborn, right, D-Las Cruces, said the bill would affect utilities including water, gas, electricity and telephone. It would also allow service members to selectively shut off services when a municipality bundles them together.
Steinborn said the inspiration for his bill was Fabian Silva, a technical sergeant, who was deployed from Holloman Air Force Base to Afghanistan.
Silva’s parents live in Las Cruces, in Steinborn’s district. Silva owns a home in Alamogordo, but has been unable to shut off selective utilities during his deployment.
Many soldiers across New Mexico are in Silva’s situation, as deployments can be unplanned or occur on short notice, Steinborn said.
“This legislation honors their service and helps provide flexibility that’s needed by them,” he said.