Power Bills, Reliable Service and COVID-19

A mom and daughter sit on daughter's bed, both looking at a phone

Answers to your questions about Benton REA’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Q: Are my electricity and internet service considered essential?

A: Yes. Benton REA and PowerNET are considered essential service providers and will remain operating during the COVID-19 outbreak and stay-home order. Reliable electricity and internet services are critical to fighting the virus.

Benton REA and PowerNET personnel will continue to be accessible by calling 509-786-2913 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. All departments will continue operating to maintain services and restore any outages that may occur during the office closure. Power and internet outages can be reported by calling 800-221-6987 or through SmartHub.

Q: What is Benton REA doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to employees and members.

A: Benton REA is adhering to Center for Disease Control guidelines and employees are following social distancing practices. Many are working from home and those in the office are maintaining distances of at least six feet and regularly disinfecting their personal and common work areas. Employees have been advised to stay home if they feel ill or show symptoms of COVID-19.

Benton REA offices are closed to walk-in traffic until further notice.

Q: How can I pay my bill if the offices are closed?

A: Benton REA is not accepting cash payments at this time, but has other payment options.

You may use the self-service payment options from the comfort of home. These include AutoPay, pay-by-phone and SmartHub, our online payment portal. Visit www.BentonREA.org/payment for a full list of payment options. Benton REA employees are ready to help choose the best payment option for you.

Q: Is it true electric companies are waving past due balances during the COVID-19 outbreak?

A: No. Benton REA understands the impacts of COVID-19 can be financial as well as physical. However, Benton REA is a member-owned cooperative, so it is important that each member pays for the electricity they use.

For those unable to pay their full amount owed, paying even a portion will help avoid a large balance due further down the road. By everyone doing their part, we will come through this crisis a stronger community and a stronger co-op.

Q: My household’s income has decreased due to the stay-home order and/or COVID-19. What options do I have to pay my bill?

A: Benton REA is taking steps to help members during this extraordinary time. We are happy to work with you. Please contact Benton REA’s billing department at 509-786-2913 to discuss your options and set up a payment arrangement.

You may also contact your local community action agency. Many organizations have funding available for income-qualified households. A list is available at www.BentonREA.org/my-account/energy-assistance/.

Q: I am spending more time at home and using more electricity. How can I prevent a large electric bill this month?

A: Benton REA’s energy adviser can speak with you by phone about your home’s energy use. You can also find our “101 Easy Ways to Save Energy” in English and Spanish on our website. Go to www.BentonREA.org/energy-savings/energy-audits/.

Improvements to your home’s efficiency may also earn you a rebate. Visit www.BentonREA.org/Rebates for a list of available rebates and energy-efficiency programs.

Q: My kids are home from school and require internet service to complete their assignments. What services from PowerNET are available to me?

A: PowerNET provides wireless internet services to homes and businesses within line-of-sight to our 23 access towers in the Mid-Columbia and Lower Yakima valleys. You may request a free signal test by visiting www.BentonREA.org/sign-up-for-service.

Q: I have PowerNET internet service, but because I’m working from home and/or my kids are home. We need to upgrade our speed. How can we receive a faster internet service during the COVID-19 outbreak?

A: PowerNET allows changes to your plan on a month-to-month basis. If you desire faster service, call 509-786-4004 and ask for available upgrades. As soon as you no longer need the faster service, call us back and we will reduce it to your current plan.


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