Rate Changes

The new residential refuse rate structure, approved as part of the 2024 Village budget, is reflected in the January/February billing cycle. The rates support capital improvements and unfunded mandates for lead service line replacements from the State of Illinois.

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  1. Water Utility
  2. Electric Utility

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 billed customers for water based on usage only and at a lower unit cost than many area communities. This did 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). Annual rate increases have been enacted to fund the replacement of the water distribution system.

The Water Fund has recently experienced additional funding challenges. In 2021, the State of Illinois enacted the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act. Approximately one-third of the service lines in the Village are lead and/or partially lead. The statute dictates various timelines for complete lead replacement according to the size of a given jurisdiction. In Winnetka’s case, all lead water services must be replaced by 2038. 

Customer Charge

Starting in 2018, the Village changed the way customers are charged for water service. Utility bills now 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 fall into the lowest category for 1-inch and smaller meters, which is a $12.71 per month charge. In addition, the Village is increasing the rate for water usage from $51.62 to $57.17 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 $92.41 to $102.35 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 $109.87 per year.

2024 water rates relative to other communities

Winnetka's rate is in green.