Winter Weather Event - Recovery information and Resources

Winter Storm Recovery Relief by Sugar Land City Council

Sugar Land City Council recently approved an ordinance authorizing the city manager to take actions necessary to speed recovery relief for citizens.

Jennifer Brown, Director of Finance, provides an overview of actions taken to speed recovery relief.

Water/Utility Bills

The city will consider adjustments to water bills affected by high usage from winter storm damages. To request an adjustment, documentation of a leaking or broken pipe will be necessary. The adjustment will only be made to water and surface water charges. Residential wastewater charges are a fixed amount based on a customer’s two-month winter average and therefore are unaffected by a leak.

Leak Adjustment Credit Form

Complete and submit this form if you would like to request an adjustment to your water utility account for the increased water usage during the billing period that covers the week of February 14-21, 2021.

Calculations for 2021 winter averages will be based on last year’s average to ensure excessive water usage related to the recent winter storm doesn’t create higher than normal winter averages.  Residents may request a review of their account by June 30th if they believe their 2021 average is lower and use the lower of the two for billing purposes. To request a review of your winter average, please email treasury@sugarlandtx.gov

Residents may also request a payment plan if they encounter financial difficulties. Payment plans allow customers to pay the outstanding balances over a longer period along with current charges with no further penalties or disconnection.

* Utility Billing Questions? Call Treasury at 281-275-2750 *

For utility billing questions – including an adjustment request, the use of this year’s consumption for the wastewater winter average calculation or payment plan discussions – contact Treasury Management at (281) 275-2750 to speak with a customer service representative.

Customers who are on automatic bank draft and receive an unusually high bill should contact the city as soon as possible to avoid having large payments drafted from their account.

Permit and Inspection Process

The permit and inspection process is being streamlined to allow faster repairs to damaged homes and businesses while still providing an inspection process to help protect residents and businesses by ensuring all appropriate codes are followed. This will include the following items through May 1:

  • Permit fees for repairs needed as a result of the winter storm will be temporarily waived.
  • For repairs requiring a permit and inspection, inspections can be conducted in-person or virtually or even through the submittal of photo documentation to expedite the inspection process. 
  • Homeowners completing repairs on their homestead won’t need to have the homestead exemption form notarized as part of the permit process.
  • Contractors registering with the City to perform repairs related to the winter storm will have their annual registration fee waived.
  • Food establishments with damage repairs can have construction and pre-opening inspection fees waived.

Are you considering a home generator?

If you're thinking about getting a new residential home generator, know the permit requirements before you start. 

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Winter Storm Repairs - Do you need a permit?

Check out this quick reference to know if your repair work might require a permit.

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Recovery Resources and Information

Temporary disaster exemption for physical damage

As a result of the February 2021 Winter Storm, Fort Bend County residents may be eligible for a temporary disaster exemption for physical damage to their property. Residents with properties that sustained at least 15% physical damage as a result of the recent disaster may apply for this temporary exemption by May 28.  



Copy of winter storm disaster exemption

Immediate Needs

If you have immediate needs for food and shelter, dial 2-1-1 or visit www.211Texas.org

Financial Assistance - Greater Coastal Community Action Council  

Residents of Fort Bend County that are in need of financial assistance with rent, utility bills and more are eligible.

How to Spot and Report Price Gouging

Report to Texas Attorney General Office at 1-800-621-0508

Visit: www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer-protection/disaster-and-emergency-scams/how-spot-and-report-price-gouging

Home Repairs

FEMA_StormDamage

If you sustained damages due to the winter storms and have insurance, document your damages before you start the clean-up process. 

Take photos of damages

  • Start your insurance claim
  • Save your expense receipts
  • Report your damages to Texas Division of Emergency Management: http://ow.ly/Ehzd50DFvvi

What to do if your pipes burst

  • Document your damage by taking pictures
  • Contact a plumber
  • Contact your homeowners insurance (most homeowner policies cover sudden and accidental water damage)
  • Contact your flood insurance (in the event your homeowners doesn’t cover)
  • Keep all receipts (pending reimbursement plan from state/federal partners)


Report Your Disaster Damage

Texans are encouraged to complete the Self Reporting Damage Survey to help the state identify damages across Texas and help emergency management officials gain an understanding of damages that occurred during the recent winter weather. Reporting damage to the Texas Division of Emergency Management is a voluntary activity, is not a substitute for reporting damage to an insurance agency, and does not guarantee disaster relief assistance.

Visit arcg.is/uOrOb to report your damages!

Federal Aid Available

FEMA announced federal emergency aid has been made available to Houstonians who suffered uninsured property damage as a result of the severe winter storm. The fastest and most efficient way to apply for disaster assistance:

Apply now if you don't have insurance and your home was damaged by the severe winter storms in one of the designated counties.

Help with Insurance Claims

Need Help with Home Repairs?

Food Pantries

Mental Health

  • Texans Recovering Together Counseling Program - 936-521-6331
  • SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline - 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • Fort Bend County Mental Health Resource Line - 832-363-7094
  • Texana Center 24 Hour Crisis Hotline (Fort Bend County Residents) - 1-800-633-5686

Electricity Related Information

Information for Businesses

SBA Stands Ready to Assist Texas Businesses and Residents Affected by the Severe Winter Storms

The SBA offers disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters located in regions affected by declared disasters. SBA also provides eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations with working capital to help overcome the economic injury of a declared disaster.

Cold Weather Safety Tips

Protect People, Pets, Pipes, and Plants

As extreme cold weather approaches, remember "The Four P's"

PeoplePetsPipesPlants
  • Keep warm, stay inside if possible.
  • If you need to go out, dress in layers and wear hats, gloves, and an appropriate coat.
  • If you must travel, use Sugar Land's Real-Time Traffic Conditions Map to check traffic and road conditions before you head out.
  • Avoid overexertion, as cold weather puts added strain on your body.
  • Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
  • Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes.
  • Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
  • Protect yourself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector and never using generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices indoors.

  • Bring pets inside, and move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas.
  • Keep adequate food and water available.
  • It's important to remember that a pet's age, breed, or illness may affect how they tolerate the cold winter months. The Houston SPCA advises that it is best that all pets live indoors due to these unpredictable weather conditions.

  • There's no need to drip inside faucets during freezing weather (it will not adversely affect city water pressure if residents choose to do so), though there’s benefit to keeping cabinets open to expose pipes to warm air (as long as there’s nothing harmful inside that’s accessible to small children or pets).
  • Disconnect outdoor hoses, drain, and store in a protected area.
  • If you have a pool, besides keeping the pump running, make sure all the valves are open as well.
  • Disconnect and drain your irrigation system.
  • Wrap all your outside water pipes: faucets, main water pipes, sprinkler vacuum breaker, etc.
  • You can purchase covers for these at your local hardware store. One can also wrap with towels and blankets to make sure pipes are not exposed.
  • Drain and turn off your main valve to sprinkler vacuum breaker – then cover them.
  • Open closet doors also in case you have plumbing in the walls or ceiling.
  • Turn your thermostats hotter during the cold to help heat the home better.

  • Know which plants need to be protected and which can withstand the cold
  • For cold-sensitive outdoor plants, put down extra mulch and consider covering them with a cloth fabric of some kind to shield the plants from wind and frost.
  • If there is sleet or snow that collects, dust it off as soon as it is safe
  • Bring potted plants inside or store in the garage, near an interior wall to provide extra warmth and protection from wind.

Emergency Notification System Sign Up

Providing your contact information ensures you receive urgent community alerts to residential, business or cell phone as well as e-mail, text message or devices for the hearing and speech impaired. We can reach thousands of citizens with one phone call. Sign up today.

Check Traffic and Road Conditions

If you must travel, use Sugar Land's Real-Time Traffic Conditions Map to check traffic and road conditions before you head out.

Keeping Your Home Safe

  • Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow heat transfer.
  • The City does not turn off the water at the meter to prevent frozen pipes.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
  • If a pipe bursts: 
    • Locate and shut off water at the main valve
    • If the main valve cannot be located, call 311 or 281-275-2900 and the city's utility staff will come and turn off the water at the meter 
    • Call a plumber
  • Learn how to drain your sprinkler system to prevent freezing
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes with caulking.
  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide related deaths are highest during colder months.
  • Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.

Portable Space Heater Safety

Portable space heaters are often used to heat rooms and homes. If not used properly, they can cause fires, severe injuries, and death. If using a portable heater, remember these important safety tips:

  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm.
  • Keep heaters at least 3 feet from anything that can burn, including furniture, carpets, curtains, and people.
  • Place heaters on solid, non-flammable surfaces.
  • Never block exits with a heater and keep them out of the way of foot traffic.
  • Keep children away from heaters.
  • Always plug heaters directly into wall outlets – NEVER use an extension cord.
  • Turn off and unplug space heaters when leaving a room or going to bed.