Many customers of the Benton PUD received the email today (Tuesday Sept. 10), indicating a 2.9% retail price hike will be going into effect October 1st of this year.

According to officials with the public utility, some of the primary reasons for the rate hike are as follows:

  • BPA (Bonneville Power Administration) rate hikes towards utilities.
  • A trickle down effect from federally mandated lower water flows by way of the BPA. These flows are from mandatory spills (water over dams) to help salmon migration. This forces the PUD to purchase extra power to meet summer demands.
  • Another increase from the Energy Independence Act, which requires local utilities to purchase now 15% of it's energy from renewable sources such as wind and power, an increase of 6% from the previous year. This results in additional energy costs. The power must be purchased whether it's needed or not. This mandatory program actually ends up costing consumers more money.

The average bill of a PUD residential customer is $116, it will go up to about $119 a month. By comparison, most other Northwest Utilities average around $127 for their customers.