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New customer service number for city public utilities

Jeremy Lazarus | 8/4/2017, 7:17 a.m.
That is the new customer service phone number for the Richmond Department of Public Utilities, it has been announced. DPU ...

(804) 646-4646.

That is the new customer service phone number for the Richmond Department of Public Utilities, it has been announced.

DPU is no longer connected to the city’s 311 call center, which routes calls to public works, animal control, tax offices and other city operations. The 311 center also gets calls through (804) 646-7000.

The new utility call center number went into service Thursday, July 13, to handle questions, concerns and issues from the public involving gas, water, sewer, streetlights and stormwater.

The decision to break away from 311 “addresses ongoing customer concerns about the lack of a separate number just for utilities,” according to DPU spokeswoman Angela Fountain.

“Customers tell us when they call for a utility question or service, they don’t want to hear information about other city departments or services,” she told the Free Press about the change.

She noted while there is no connection now between 311 and the utility’s customer service number, an operator can transfer 311 callers to the new utility number during business hours.

The separation did not add any additional cost as DPU simply changed the use of an existing telephone line, Ms. Fountain said.

She added other cities with 311 call centers have separate numbers for “utility services to more efficiently handle those calls.”