Utility Billing Relief Program

 

Utility Billing Relief (UBR) will provide low-income residents with a reduced rate on their water, sewer, and water-sewer taxes, as well as debt relief for those who demonstrate they can manage the reduced rate bills for one year. Benefits for UBR participants include:

  • A reduced rate on water, sewer, and utility tax
  • No late payment penalties or debt collection activity including water shut-off
  • Debt forgiveness after successfully completing one year with no accrued balance

Operating in partnership with the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County (CEDA), who operates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Cook County, the UBR program will take advantage of their expertise and extensive network of partner organizations to conduct outreach and enroll homeowners in the Spring of 2020

The City will be launching this program in the first half of 2020 and is committed to offering this opportunity to low income residents before resuming the water shutoff program. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Timeline:

  • When does it start?
    • Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County (CEDA) will begin accepting applications on 03/01/20.

Eligibility:

  • Who is eligible?
    • Homeowners of single-family homes and 2-flats who are also eligible for LIHEAP.
  • What if my name is not on the bill?
    • In order to be eligible to participate in the program, you must be the property owner, reside at the address and your name must appear on the bill as the customer.

Benefits:

  • How much can I save?
    • 50% on water, sewer and water-sewer tax going forward (garbage fees are not included).
    • After successfully completing the first 12 months of the program, your previous unpaid balance will be forgiven.

 Process:

  • How do I apply?
    • You can reach CEDA by one of the methods below:
      • Email your name and number to utilitybillrelief@cedaorg.net.
      • Text WATERBILL to 313131 to receive program updates.
      • Call (312)795-8946 and leave your name and number.
  • What if I can’t get to an office?
    • Any adult household member, 18 or older, can apply for assistance on behalf of the household. That person must have originals of required documents for the household. 
  • What is required to apply?
    • The same documentation required for a LIHEAP application and your most recent City of Chicago utility bill.
      • If you don’t have access to your most recent bills, you can:
  • What’s the turn-around time?
    • Processing time for applications is 30 days from the receipt of the UBR application at CEDA Central.
  • How do I know if I’m approved?
    • You will receive a welcome letter and enrollment confirmation
  • What happens to my previous balance?
    • During the first 12 months of program participation, your previous balance will be set aside, and no payment will be required on the previous balance.
    • After successful completion of the first 12 months of the program, your previous unpaid balance will be forgiven.
  • What happens if I don’t complete the program?
    • You will have one more opportunity to complete the plan successfully.
    • If you don’t complete the plan successfully, your past debt will not be forgiven.
  • What is required to successfully complete the program?
    • You must pay all current charges at the reduced rate during the 12-month program period.
  • If I don’t successfully complete the program, will I be disconnected?
    • If you do not successfully complete the Utility Billing Relief Program you will be subject to the normal collection process which can include water shut-off.
  • Does my billing change?
    • Customers with metered accounts will be billed monthly.
    • Customers with nonmetered accounts will receive a monthly reminder notice in addition to their regular 6-month bill.  
  • How often do I have to apply?
    • Everyone must apply every 12 months.
  • What will my water rate be?
    • 50% of $3.98 / 1,000 gallons = approximately $1.99 / 1,000 gallons. (*Subject to annual CPI increase which is effective June 1stof each year)

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