CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The winter storm that hit Texas in February knocked power out for millions and left millions without clean water.
Some bills Texans received after the storm has been astronomical.
Guajardo announced several new programs to provide immediate relief to residents still recovering from the storm.
Water Utility Bill Program
Water customers can contact the city's Utility Business Office and request a review of their January and February bills. The customer will pay the amount equal to the previous month's water supply or this month's, whichever is lower.
Residents and commercial businesses are eligible for relief adjustments. Large-volume customers that use 100,000 gallons or more of water each day are not eligible, city officials said.
No late fees will be assessed for the February billing cycles. Late fees will resume in April for the March billing cycles. Disconnections for delinquent accounts will be suspended through March.
The Wastewater Winter Quarter Average (WQA) for all customers will not be recalculated this year because of the challenges imposed by this extreme cold weather event. Customers may request a review of their WQA calculation on a case-by-case basis.
To submit a Water Utility Bill Relief request, customers should email the Utility Business Office at: UBOresolutions@cctexas.com.
Customers should include the following information:
- First and last name
- Address listed on the account
- Account number (if known)
- A good call back number
Anyone who does not have access to email can call 826-CITY (2489) and ask for the Utility Business Office, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to speak with a billing specialist.
Emergency Plumbing Repairs Program
This program is designed for low-income families. The city has made $320,000 in grant funds available for this fund.
Starting March 3, homeowners can go to cctexas.com/gmd to apply or download an application for the emergency plumbing program.
Applications can be sent to email@example.com. You can also call 361-826-3010 for application assistance.
To be eligible for this program, the household must make 50% less than the median area income, be 62 or older, or disabled. Homeowners must be current on property tax payments, mortgage payments, the house must not be in foreclosure, the house must not be in a flood zone and the homeowners will have to sign a grant agreement.
Gas Relief Program
The city gets natural gas at wholesale prices and then passes those prices along to customers. During the winter storm, market prices for natural gas surged. The city's cost of gas jumped from $4.09 per 1000 cubic feet to over $100 for several days.
The city said they are working closely with the supplier to have customers pay back those high prices over time.
Mayor Guajardo said the gas debt will have a financial impact on gas bills for "a very long time." The city is conducting data analysis that will help ease the burden and ensure the program is equitable for all customers.
The city expects to have final plan in 30 days.
Off-cycle Brush Removal Plan
Starting Monday, March 8, a citywide clean-up will begin. Residents can go to www.cctexas.com/stormcleanup for maps of locations and dates for brush pick-up.
This is a one-time collection to offset the damage done by the winter storm.
Guajardo said this clean-up will take several weeks.
Items that will be picked up include tree limbs and brush. Bulky items, such as mattresses or appliances will not be picked up.
The City asks that brush not block sidewalks or storm drains.
The JC Elliot landfill has extended its brush dropoff hours to 7 days a week as cleanup continues.
Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund
The Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund has been reestablished, Guajardo said. Details on how to donate or apply for funding is forthcoming.
If you need assistance on how to apply or have questions about any of these relief efforts, call 361-826-CITY. The call center staff is standing by and will be able to assist you.
"Your city council is working for you, and I want you all to know that," Guajardo said.
For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.
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