Utility Billing Relief FAQ

Program 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.


To be eligible for UBR, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Property must be a single-family-home or two-flat
  • Applicant must be an owner of the property
  • Proof of identity for all members of the household regardless of age or legal residency.
  • Applicant must meet the income eligibility requirements and provide supporting documentation. Household members’ total income must be equal to or less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
How to Apply

Choose one of the following options to apply for UBR.

If you have successfully applied for LIHEAP benefits within the last 12 months.

You’ll need one of the following:

  • Utility Account Number that you successfully applied for a LIHEAP benefit for, either:
    • Nicor
    • People’s Gas
    • ComEd

To apply, click here and go to the Apply Here section.

I am interested in applying for both LIHEAP and UBR.

If you have never received LIHEAP or believe you are eligible to reapply, you can apply for UBR and LIHEAP at the same time by contacting CEDA, who will connect you with an intake agent. LIHEAP helps income eligible households pay their Gas and Electric bills. You can also explore eligibility for Weatherization, Furnace Assistance, and other Energy Programs. You will need to provide proof of identity and income for all household members, along with current utility bills.

Go here for more details on how to apply for LIHEAP and UBR together.

Application Process

What is required to apply?

The same documentation required for a LIHEAP application and your City of Chicago utility account number. Proof of identity and proof of income for all members of the household regardless of age or legal residency. If you don’t have access to your City of Chicago utility account number, you can call us at (312)744-4426 to request a copy of your bill.

I received a denial letter/email; what should I do?

If we are unable to approve your application for UBR, you will receive a letter or email with the reason(s) for denial and instructions on how to proceed. If you feel you were denied in error please contact the organization listed on the letter or email.

How do I know if I’m approved?

You will receive a welcome letter and enrollment confirmation.

What’s the turn around time?

Processing time for applications is up to 30 days from the receipt of the complete UBR application.

Information for Enrolled Customers

Will my billing change?

Customers with metered accounts will be billed monthly. Customers with non-metered accounts will receive a monthly reminder notice in addition to their regular 6-month bill.

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 is required to successfully complete the program?

You must pay all current charges at the reduced rate during the 12-month program period.

What will my rates be?

50% of water, sewer and water-sewer tax. You can view more information on Water & Sewer Rates and the Water-Sewer Tax.

How often do I have to apply?

Once enrolled, your enrollment will be active for 12 months. At the end of your 12-month enrollment period you must reapply to remain enrolled.

Other Program Questions

What happens if I don’t complete the program?

You will have one more opportunity to complete the program successfully if you reapply and continue to meet the account and income eligibility criteria. If you don’t complete the program successfully, your past debt will not be forgiven and the 50% rate reduction will end.

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. At this time, the City is not disconnecting water service for nonpayment.

I’m currently enrolled in the MeterSave program; can I apply for UBR?

MeterSave customers are eligible for the UBR Program, but will be permanently removed from the MeterSave program if they enroll in the UBR Program. If the customer does enroll in UBR they will no longer be eligible for the MeterSave Program.

What will happen for customers with the Senior Citizen Sewer Exemption?

Senior citizens with the Senior Citizen Sewer Exemption will lose this exemption if they choose to enroll in the UBR Program. If the customer exits from the UBR Program, the Senior Citizen Sewer Exemption will be restored automatically. If you are receiving the Senior Citizen Sewer Exemption the UBR Program may benefit you financially if you have a past due balance. If you successfully pay all UBR bills for a year your past due balance will be forgiven.

Can I reapply after successfully completing the program?

Yes. You will need to verify account and income eligibility through a renewal process.

For Outreach

Program Information - PDFs