The new residential refuse rate structure, approved as part of the 2020 Village budget, is reflected in the January/February billing cycle. The fee structure was carefully established to fund existing service levels and required capital assets, while remaining competitive with neighboring communities.
Have questions about utility billing? Call 847-446-9550.
Water System Funding Structure
Winnetka’s water system is operated as an enterprise fund, meaning the costs to provide water, maintain the system, and replace aging infrastructure are entirely supported by customer charges, not taxes.
A 2017 study of the Village’s Water Fund concluded that the existing rates do not produce adequate revenue to address essential system infrastructure. Historically, the Village has billed customers for water based on usage only and at a lower unit cost than many area communities. This will not provide the long-term revenue stability necessary to support the required infrastructure improvements.
Approximately 58% of the Village’s water distribution system is over 100 years old. The system is experiencing failures at a rate (22.5 per 100 miles/year) of nearly twice the national rate (11 per 100 miles per year).
Starting in 2018, the Village changed the way customers are charged for water service. Utility bills will include a customer charge, which is a flat monthly fee that is based on the size of each customer’s water meter. Approximately 86% of Winnetka customers will fall into the lowest category for 1-inch and smaller meters, which is a $9.18 per month charge. In addition, the Village is increasing the rate for water usage from $38 to $39.75 per 1,000 cubic feet of water used.
Water customers outside of Winnetka’s corporate limits will also incur the same monthly customer charge based on their meter size, along with the volumetric rate changing from $68.02 to $71.15 per 1,000 cubic feet of water used.
The following chart shows the effect the rate changes will have on the typical user, a customer with a 1-inch meter using 1,500 cubic feet of water in a month, compared to the rate for other communities. A typical Winnetka resident will pay an additional $54.36 per year.
Electric Utility Funding Structure
Winnetka’s electric system is operated as an enterprise fund, meaning the cost to provide electricity, maintain the system, and fund all capital improvement projects, are funded entirely by revenues from customer rates.
A 2017 study of the Village’s Electric Fund concluded that the existing rates structure does not produce adequate revenue to fund the long-term capital plan and also identified that certain types of customer classes are subsidizing the electric costs of other customer classes.
To address these concerns, the Village implemented separate monthly customer charges for each of the customer rate classifications, starting in 2018. There is currently no differentiation between the customer classes (i.e. residential, school and government, commercial, etc.). The complete list of customer classes and monthly rates is shown in the following table.
|Type of Customer (Rate Code)||Single-Phase Customer Charge||Three-Phase Customer Charge|
|Rate 1: Residential||$13.46||$19.76|
|Rate 2: Space Heating||$13.46||$19.76|
|Rate 3: Commercial||$16.46||$22.76|
|Rate 4: School and Government (<1,000kW)||$21.46||$27.76|
|Rate 4: School and Government (>1,000kW)||$36.46||$42.76|
|Rate 6: Water Heating||$10.96||$17.26|
|Rate 7: Large Residential||$13.46||$19.76|
|Rate 18: Street Lights||$0.00||$0.00|