ONLINE WATER BILLING – UPGRADE
As part of our ongoing efforts to provide security, reliability and availability for our residents, we are upgrading our online billing system.
Current Online Water Billing users will see a new look. RE-Registration will be required, however you will not need to re-enter your payment information.
When you sign in for the first time after the upgrade you will sign in as you have before using your Account Number and Password. You will then be prompted thru the steps to transition from the old login to the new login:
This process is similar to when you first set up your online account.
The only difference is that we will be asking a few more questions during the transition set up, such as Name, Address, Phone Numbers and Security Questions.
Upon completion you will receive an email with a link to complete the set up.
When you click on the link you will be taken to the “Enable Email” screen, this indicates that you have completed the set up and can now login with your email address by selecting “Login” at the top of the page.
You will then get a confirmation that you have recently migrated your account and when selecting “OK” you will be at the Home page ready to login using your email address.
If you have not set up an Online Water Billing Account see additional information below.
ONLINE WATER BILLING & EMAIL NOTIFICATION
The City of Lake Forest now offers Online Water billing. This service is free and available 24 hours a day. You can now access your water bills and make payments online at your convenience. It’s simple, just create an online account. You will need your water account number and the due date of your last water bill. Click Here to access Online Water Billing to create your online account. Online water billing will also allow you to see your billing, water usage and payment history. We also offer E-Notification of your water bill. You can now choose to go paperless. You will be notified by Email when your water bill is available for online viewing. A summary of your water bill is included in the Email Notification. The Email Notification also includes a link to Online Water Billing. If you sign up for Email Notification you will continue to receive printed bills in the mail for two billing cycles after you have received an Email Notification confirming that you are now set up. Please remember that if your email address changes you will need to update your online account otherwise you will not receive notification. You can sign up for Email Notification once you have created an online account.
System Downtime: Normal scheduled maintenance typically will be performed Friday mornings from 5:00am - 7:30am. Other maintenance and updates may be performed with advance notification on the website. Unscheduled maintenance cannot be predicted and will occur on an as-needed basis. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Water billing for The City of Lake Forest is done on a quarterly basis. For billing purposes, the City is divided into three sections/cycles and each cycle is billed quarterly. Water meters in Lake Forest are equipped with a Radio Read Meter Transceiver Unit (MXU) which permits meter reading via radio signals. As the Public Works vehicle moves through the section of town to be billed, the MXU connected to your meter receives a wake up signal from the vehicle interrogation unit. The MXU obtains the meter's identification number and meter reading, which are transmitted back to the interrogation unit. The meter readings are then used to produce the water bills. Your water bill is based on an actual (not estimated) meter reading each quarter. Actual readings produce an accurate usage history and that helps detect leaks.
The water bill includes a water charge, water customer charge, city use tax (5% of the water charge the Water Customer Charge), sewer charge, a sewer customer charge which is based on the size of the meter in each home or business, refuse collection fee effective May 1, 2014, and a public safety pension fee effective May 1, 2017.
Tiered Water Rate Structure
In February of 2014 the City Council adopted revisions to the water rate structure with one of the goals to incentivize residential customers to reduce water consumption during demand peak periods. The table below shows the tiered rates. Residents using 60,000 gallons and under will be charged a lower rate per 1,000 gallons and any water usage greater than 60,000 gallons will be charged a higher rate per 1,000 gallons. Note that the higher rate is applied only to usage that exceeds 60,000 gallons.
Refuse Collection Fee
In December of 2013 the City Council adopted changes to various fees and charges which included a Refuse Collection Fee. Residents who have their garbage and recycling collected by the City will be charged a Refuse Collection Fee on the water bill. For more detailed information regarding the Refuse Collection Fee please click on this link to the Sanitation Web Page.
The amount of water used during the winter billing quarter establishes the consumption charged for sewer for the next four bills, i.e. during the winter quarter your usage is 5,000 gallons of water, but in the summer water usage jumps to 48,000 gallons. The sewer charge will be based on a consumption of 5,000 gallons, not 48,000.
You will receive a separate bill from the North Shore Water Reclamation District for sewage treatment and disposal. The City of Lake Forest water bill includes charges for the maintenance of the sewer lines from your home or business to the North Shore Water Reclamation District intercepting sewers.
Water bill payments may be deposited in The City of Lake Forest postage-free white drop boxes located at the Telegraph Road train station parking lot and on Bank Lane north of Westminster. There is also a drop box located to the left of the main entrance of the Municipal Services building. You may also pay your regular water bill in person at the Municipal Services Building or City Hall during the regular business hours of 8:00am to 4:30pm. We accept check, cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express. We are not able to accept payment by phone.
Online Water Bill Payments
You can pay your water bill online by clicking here. You will need to have your water bill account number and the due date of your last water bill in order to set up an online account. Once you have set up your online account you can make payments and view your water bills online. You can use your Checking or Savings Account, Visa, Master Card, Discover, or American Express card to make a payment online.
System maintenance is performed daily between 1:00 – 3:00 AM. During this time online payment access will not be available. On occasion, unscheduled maintenance will occur on an as-needed basis. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.
Automatic Recurring Payment Options
We also offer Automatic Recurring Payment options from your Checking, Savings or Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express). To participate in Automatic Recurring Payment, you will need to enroll thru your online account. For those enrolled in Automatic Bank Payment prior to January 6, 2015 you do not need to do anything. Your current Automatic Bank Authorization will remain in effect until any changes are made to your bank information.
By using this payment method, the amount of your water/sewer bill is automatically deducted from the checking account, savings account or credit card you have authorized the City to use. Participants in this payment service will continue to receive a water/sewer bill on a quarterly basis indicating the amount to be deducted from their account. On the due date, the water/sewer bill payment will be deducted from the account. There is no fee for automatic debiting. Questions? Please call 847-810-3620.
Email Notification – Paperless Billing
If you would like to go paperless and have notification of your water bill emailed to you please enroll via your online water account. You must enroll 2 weeks prior to the next bill in order for your notification to be emailed to you. Click here to set up an online account if you have not already done so. You will be notified by email when your water bill is available for online viewing. A summary of your water bill is included in the Email Notification. The Email Notification also includes a link to Online Water Billing. If you sign up for Email Notification you will continue to receive printed bills in the mail for two billing cycles after receiving your confirmation Email Notification. Please remember that if your email address changes you will need to update your online account otherwise you will not receive a notification.
Water Bill Changes
To request a change to the mailing address of your water bill please complete the Change of address form. You may download this Change of Address form and either email, Fax or mail the form to the Finance Department. This information is on the form. If you are requesting a name change and are not selling your property you will need to submit supporting documentation when submitting the change form.
If you are selling your property you will need to have a Home Sanitary Sewer Inspection, request a final meter read and pay your final water bill prior to the closing date of the property sale. We suggest that you contact our office as soon as you have the closing date scheduled. A Seller /Buyer checklist can be downloaded for your reference. The Home Sanitary Sewer Inspection application and the fee of $150 (cash or check only) will need to be submitted to the Community Development Department in order to schedule the inspection.
If you are purchasing a home in The City of Lake Forest we ask that you contact the Water Billing Department to set up your new water account. In addition to setting up your new water account you will need to purchase a Transfer Tax Stamp prior to the closing date. A City of Lake Forest Real Estate Transfer Tax Declaration will need to be completed. A Seller/Buyer Checklist can be downloaded for your reference. If you would like more information regarding the Transfer Tax Stamp click on this link to our Real Estate Transfer Tax Web Page
If you rent your property and would like to have a duplicate bill sent to your renter(s) please complete the Duplicate Billing Form. This form will authorize the City to send a duplicate bill to your renter(s). This form can be emailed, faxed or mailed to the Finance Department. The completed form will need to be signed by both the Owner and the renter(s).
Is my water bill high due to a water leak?
If your water bill is higher than normal, it may be due to higher water consumption. Information on how to check for a possible leak can be viewed or downloaded here.
How much water do I use
Many customers ask the question, "How much water does the average person use each day?" The answer to this question, of course, requires a definition of the "average person." In general, per capita water use ranges from about 80 - 100 gallons per day in the eastern United States, which would be an average of 9,000 gallons per billing quarter.