General Billing Questions
- How do I pay my City of Chicago unified utility bill?
- How do I get a payment plan for City of Chicago unified utility bill?
- What are the upcoming water and sewer rate increases?
- How do I determine if I have a metered or non-metered account?
- How are non-metered accounts billed?
- How are metered accounts billed?
- Can I manage my utility billing account online?
- What is the Water-Sewer Tax?
- What is the Garbage Fee?
- How do I dispute my utility bill?
- How do I apply for the Senior Sewer Exemption?
- How do I apply for the Not-for-Profit Exemption?
- What is a Full Payment Certificate or “FPC”?
- How do I change the name on an account when a property has transferred or is going to be transferred?
- Are there penalties for late payment?
- How do I get a refund?
- Why am I receiving an estimated bill?
- I received a letter stating that my meter is running continuously, what does this mean?
- I received an Orange Notice of Water Service Termination what does this mean?
- I received a Yellow Notice of Water Service Termination what does this mean?
- What should I do if my water has been shut-off for non-payment?
- How do I change my mailing address?
- Can a tenant have the water bill put in their name?
- Does filing bankruptcy relieve me of outstanding utility charges?
- How do I remove my name from an account for a property lost in foreclosure?
- How do I obtain a Payoff Letter or a Lien Release?
For information on how to pay your utility bill, please see Pay Your Utility Bill.
For information on utility bill payment plans, please see Utility Bill Payment Plans.
For the current water and sewer rates, please see Water and Sewer Rates.
Per the Municipal Code of Chicago, beginning June 1, 2016, and every year thereafter, the annual water rates shall be adjusted upwards, if applicable, by applying the previous year's rate of inflation. This increase is calculated based on the Consumer Price Index - Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (Chicago All Items) published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for the 365-day period ending on the most recent January 1. Any such annual increase, however, shall be capped at 105% of the previous year's rate.
Water and sewer rates increase to keep pace with normal inflation. These increases are necessary to cover the on-going costs providing safe clean water for drinking and for removing the waste water and storm runoff from the streets of Chicago. This is all accomplished through a network of purification plants, tunnels, pumping stations, water mains, sewer mains, valves and structures that require constant upkeep and maintenance. These services are necessary to meet standards set by Environmental Protection Agency for water quality. At less than a penny per gallon, Chicago’s rates will remain among the lowest in the nation for fresh, clean water.
Your account type is listed, on your unified utility bill in the blue box next to the Bill Summary. It will state non-metered account, metered account, or MeterSave account.
Non-metered accounts are assigned to properties that do not have a water meter to measure usage. Unlike metered accounts that are charged for water actually used, non-metered accounts are charged a flat rate, per the Municipal Code of Chicago, based on factors such as building size, lot size, and plumbing fixtures. On the back of non-metered utility bills, a breakdown of the calculated charges specific to the property is provided. For more information on non-metered charges, see Ch. 11-12-270 of the Municipal Code of Chicago.
Non-metered accounts are billed on a monthly basis.
For information on volunteering to have a meter installed, please call 3-1-1 or visit www.metersave.org.
Metered accounts are billed based on the actual water usage measured by the water meter. Depending on the type of water meter installed on your property, water usage is measured in gallons or cubic feet. Water charges for metered accounts are calculated by multiplying the water usage by the water rate.
Metered accounts are billed on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, depending on the property type.
Periodically, the Department of Water Management (DWM) is unable to obtain an actual meter reading. When this occurs, you will receive an estimated bill. When DWM is able to obtain an actual meter reading you will receive a bill that reflects that actual usage. To avoid estimated reads that may inaccurately reflect actual usage, DWM encourages customers to request the installation of an automatic meter reader. You may contact the DWM at 312.747.2862 for more information.
We have a new web portal for utility bills. Here are some of the convenient online features:
- View, print, or download your bills
- Go green and enroll in paperless billing
- View payment history and usage
- Make a quick payment
- Set up a payment plan
- Sign up for AutoPay
The AutoPay feature allows you to pay your bills with automatic debits from your bank account. With AutoPay, you will not have to remember to pay your bill. There are no service fees and you will receive a reminder email prior to the automatic debit.
Effective March 2017, utility bills include water-sewer tax charges. The revenue from this tax will be used to make certain mandated pension payments. The tax is charged to all non-exempt Chicago businesses and residences, and is billed as a separate line item on utility bills. Specific tax rates for each year are listed on the Water-Sewer Tax FAQ.
The garbage fee is charged to all properties that receive City of Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation garbage collection service. For more information, see the Garbage Fee page.
Before you dispute your bill, please take the time to understand your bill.
If you still dispute your bill, you must contact Utility Billing & Customer Service at 312.744.4426 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss billing issues. Your account will be reviewed to determine possible billing errors. In the meantime, you should make your payment to avoid late charges. If an adjustment is made to your account as a result of the dispute, you will receive a credit.
If you have been posted with a notice of water service termination, we recommend you pay on-line, over the phone or in-person at a City of Chicago Department of Finance Payment Center.
If you cannot pay your bill in full, there are payment plans available. More information is available under utility bill payment plans.
For information on the Senior Sewer Exemption and how to apply, please see Apply for Water and Sewer Charge Exemptions.
For information on the Not-for-Profit Exemption and how to apply, please see Apply for Water and Sewer Charge Exemptions.
For information on Full Payment Certificates, please see Full Payment Certificates.
14. How do I change the name on an account when a property has transferred or is going to be transferred?
The owner’s name is changed through the Full Payment Certificate Process. When real property is transferred in the City of Chicago, the transferor is required by ordinance to obtain a Full Payment Certificate (FPC) from the Chicago Department of Finance. The FPC application serves as a request to the Department of Finance to transfer service out of the transferor’s name and into the transferee’s name.
For more information on the Full Payment Certificate application process, please see Full Payment Certificates.
If you continue to receive bills in the prior owner’s name, please report this to the Department of Finance/Utility Billing & Customer Service. You may submit your change request by completing the Change of Owner Name/Mailing Address Form. If Utility Billing & Customer Service does not have a record of the Full Payment Certificate from your closing, you may be required to provide us with a copy of the deed and/ or full payment certificate.
A penalty accrues at a rate of 1.25% on late balances.
You may download a Refund Application. Complete the application and review it carefully. Make certain it is filled out completely and all requested supporting documentation is attached. An incomplete application will be denied due to insufficient documentation.
If approved, it may take up to eight weeks to receive your refund.
Generally, meters are read every 30 - 60 days. Periodically the Department of Water Management is unable to obtain an actual meter reading. This may happen because we cannot pick up an electronic signal from your meter or access to the meter has been prevented. When this occurs, you will receive an estimated bill. When the Department of Water Management is able to obtain an actual meter reading you will receive a bill that reflects the actual usage.
To allow for greater ease of obtaining actual meter readings and ensure accurate bills, the City encourages customers to request the installation of an automatic meter reader. You may contact the DWM at 312.747.2862 for more information.
This letter is sent to you as a courtesy to inform you of a possible water leak in or on your premises. A meter running continuously is an indicator of a leak. It may also be your typical water usage. This is something that you should investigate.
The Department of Finance is required by ordinance to bill and collect for all water usage registered on your water meter. No account adjustments or billing cancellation can be made when, after registration, water has been used, wasted or lost through leakage.
This means you are eligible for water shut-off as of the date on the notice due to non-payment. To avoid water service termination, you must make payment or enter into a payment plan before the shut-off date on the notice.
This means you are scheduled for water shut-off as of the date on the notice because DWM has been denied access to the water meter in the building. To avoid water service termination, you must contact DWM at 312.747.9090 to schedule a reading of your meter within 10 days of the date on the notice.
You must pay your bill in full or, if you qualify, enter into a qualifying payment plan.
If your water has been shut off for 30 days or more you must sign a Release of Liability before water service can be restored.
NOTE: If your water is illegally restored you will be assessed a fine of $500.00. The Department of Water Management periodically inspects premises to determine if the water has been illegally restored.
Please complete a Change of Owner Name/Mailing Address Form with the updated mailing address.
A property owner may request that water bills be sent in attention to the name of a tenant, however, this does not relieve the owner of the subject property from liability for unpaid utility charges. Please complete a Change of Owner Name/Mailing Address Form to include the tenant’s name in the mailing address.
If you have filed for Bankruptcy, please send a copy your bankruptcy notice via fax to 312.747.6894, email to email@example.com, or mail to P.O. Box 6330, Chicago, IL 60608. Be sure to include your name and phone number.
Upon notification, your account will be updated to reflect that the bankruptcy was filed for the specified pre-petition charges. You are responsible to pay all new post-petition charges in full and on time. If your current charges are not paid, we have the right to proceed with collection efforts including the termination of your water service.
If you have lost your property through a foreclosure and are still receiving a water bill, please provide a copy of the executed Foreclosure Deed via fax to 312.747.6894, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to P.O. Box 6330, Chicago, IL 60608. Be sure to indicate your name and phone number on the cover letter. Your account will be reviewed and the charges updated to reflect details of the foreclosure.
The Municipal Code of Chicago provides that the titleholder of record is responsible for all utility billing account charges up to the date of foreclosure. Until a Foreclosure Deed is executed, the borrower may still have certain rights to the property. If the foreclosure is only pending (Lis Pendens), and not yet executed, the titleholder of record remains liable for the utility billing charges.
You may obtain a copy of the Foreclosure Deed from the Cook County Recorder of Deeds – www.ccrd.info. You may determine the status of a foreclosure case with the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court at www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.com / Online case info / Full electronic docket search / Chancery / (CH) / Search by Name or Case #.
To obtain a Payoff Letter or a Lien Release please fax your request to 312.747.6894 or email your request to email@example.com. Be sure to indicate your name, document #, property address, and phone number and how you would like the document returned on the cover letter so someone can call you back if there are any questions.