Last week’s winter weather across the south was unprecedented. We are all still working through the aftermath of the snow and cold temperatures. First, let me say thank you to all city staff that worked hard to continue service to our residents. Thank you also to the residents of Siloam Springs who were patient and understanding with city staff. We saw many of you coming to the aid of your neighbors, family, and friends, and this is what makes Siloam a great place to live, work, and play.
We are lucky to have endured only temporary electrical outages, as our electric provider, Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA), worked creatively to balance the power grid as required by the Southern Power Pool (SPP). Outages could have been significantly worse. GRDA did a great job spreading the inconvenience of the temporary outages across their municipal customers so that no one city had to take the brunt of the outages.
I know many of you are thinking ahead to utility bills, anxious for the financial ramifications of the weather. Unfortunately, there is not an easy answer. Real-time energy costs and the cost of natural gas and operating electrical power plants during this weather crisis were very expensive. GRDA’s goal is to have potential financial impacts by March 1. Once that information is provided to the City we’ll develop a plan on how best to proceed.
In the meantime, any city water utility customer who experienced a water leak due to frozen and broken pipes can request an adjustment of their water bill. Customers must submit proof of repairs in the form of a plumber’s invoice, receipt of repair parts, or a written and signed letter from a landlord stating the leak was fixed. The adjustment shall be for 50% of the consumption for the billing period that included the winter storm, after the minimum charge for the first 1,000 gallons has been deducted. This will be applied to the water and sewer portion of the utility bill only. The city will adjust for one utility bill per leak per customer.
We will continue to keep you apprised of the situation. We thank you for your patience and understanding and will continue to strive for excellent customer service, even through challenging conditions.
City of Siloam Springs City Administrator