Evanston Still Maintains Competitive Water Rates Compared to Other Metro Communities

Posted on Friday Nov 30, 2012

At the November 26, 2012 City Council Meeting, aldermen accepted the introduction of an ordinance that would result in a three percent water rate increase to take effect July 1, 2013. The increase was needed to manage the amount of bonds sold to finance proposed capital improvement projects.  With the increase, the average cost increase to a single family home consumer will pay approximately one dollar per bi-monthly billing period.

Evanston’s current water rate is $1.75 per 100 cubic feet or $2.34 per 1,000 gallons.  The 3% rate increase would raise the rate to $1.80 per 100 cubic feet or $2.41 per 1,000 gallons. Currently, Chicago charges $2.51 per 1,000 gallons and on January 1, 2013 the rate will increase to $2.89 per 1,000 gallons. The DuPage Water Commission charges $2.99 per 1,000 gallons. Click here to view water rates in other communities>>>

Additionally, the City of Evanston provides water at wholesale rates to the Village of Skokie at a rate of $0.9781 per 1,000 gallons and in turn the village charges their residents $3.25 per 100 cubic feet or $4.35 per 1,000 gallons. The current agreement between the City of Evanston and the Village of Skokie relating to water supply and service began on March 1, 1997 and ends on March 1, 2017. Evanston first began supplying water to Skokie in 1944.

Finally, the City of Evanston provides water at wholesale rates to the Northwest Water Commission (NWC). This rate is established on a quantity charge, depreciation and return on rate basis, so the rate varies month to month. In October, the rate charged the NWC was equivalent to $0.615 per 1,000 gallons. Arlington Heights, who purchases the water from the NWC, charges their residents $5.05 per 1,000 gallons.
Each organization increases the charge to their customers, above the wholesale water rate, to have sufficient funds for their capital improvement and operation/maintenance costs associated with their water distribution system.

The original water supply contract between the city and NWC was executed in 1981. It established the term of the contract to be 40 years from the date of its first delivery, which was March 1, 1985 and therefore established the termination date to be March 1, 2025.To settle and resolve disputes between the parties, the contract was amended and restated in 1995 and the term of the contract was adjusted to be 45 years from the date of first delivery, or until March 1, 2030. 

This amendment also modified the calculation of annual rate increases and established the right to cause negotiations for the purpose of determining rates on and after October 1, 2006 to be reopened.  The city reopened the contract in 2006. After negotiations, the contract was amended again in 2008 revising the rates.  However, language in the contract allowed the party that did not reopen the contract to extend or shorten the length of the term by five years. In 2008, the city and NWC agreed to allow NWC to have a five year period, or until September 30, 2013, to exercise its right to extend or shorten the length of the contract term.  Currently, the contract term is March 1, 2030 but could be adjusted on or before September 30, 2013 to be left alone, shortened by five years or lengthened by five years.

The Village of Oak Park adopted new water and refuse rates last week for 2013.  Here is how Evanston stacks up: Water and Refuse Rates Oak Park.pdf

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Click here>>> for additional information on the ordinance.

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