Senator Belt


SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that would allow water and sewer utilities to provide an additional financial assistance program passed committee on Thursday.

“Water and sewer services are essential services. You need them to live. Unfortunately, it’s often the case that low-income customers cannot afford their monthly bills,” Belt said. “This measure would help lessen that financial burden for these customers.” 

Utility providers can choose to opt-in to the program, managed by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, to ensure low-income citizens’ water and sewer services are available and affordable.

“For many families, utility services can be a large percent of their monthly income,” Belt said.  “There are existing financial assistance policies in Illinois for other utility services. It’s crucial to provide a water and sewer assistance program as well.” 

The measure would create the Water and Sewer Low-Income Assistance Fund, authorizing DCEO to make payments directly to the utility providers on behalf of qualified customers. The fund is financed through the opt-in program. One-third of the available funds will go to the households with the lowest incomes. Older adults and people with disabilities will also be prioritized.

House Bill 414 passed the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee by a vote of 19-0 and now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.