When Will Benton REA Offices Reopen?

Prosser Benton REA office

Answers to your questions about Benton REA and the pandemic

Effects of the coronavirus pandemic have members wondering when business will be back to normal. Benton REA continues to monitor the local situation with members’ and employees’ safety top-of-mind. The cooperative appreciates members’ patience through these trying months.

“During these uncertain times one thing is certain: our commitment to you and the local communities we serve,” says General Manager Michael Bradshaw.

The following are answers to your frequently asked questions. If you have further questions or concerns, you may contact Benton REA at 509-786-2913 or email memberservices@bentonrea.org.

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

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

Benton REA is adhering to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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, regularly disinfecting their personal and common work areas, and wearing a mask when away from their workstation. Employees have been advised to stay home if they feel ill or show symptoms of COVID-19.

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

Benton REA is currently not accepting cash payments. However, members may use our self-service payment options from the comfort of home, including mailing a check to our local office, AutoPay, pay-by-phone and SmartHub our online payment portal. Members may also drop off a check at our 24/7 secure payment drop boxes in West Richland and Prosser.

Visit BentonREA.org/payment for a full list of payment options. If you have questions, Benton REA employees are ready to help you choose a payment option that works for you.

When will Benton REA office lobbies open to the public?

Because Benton REA has many options for members to pay their bill and communicate with employees, our doors will remain closed until further notice. Due to the unknown nature of the pandemic and the governor’s restrictions, it is unknown when offices will reopen.

When Benton REA offices reopen, it will be announced on Benton REA’s social media accounts, website and newsletters. Follow your co-op on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Nextdoor for these important announcements.

Is Benton REA waiving past-due balances during the COVID-19 pandemic?

No. Benton REA understands the impacts of COVID-19 can be financial as well as physical. However, Benton REA is a not-for-profit member-owned cooperative, so it is important 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 down the road. By everyone doing their part, we will come through this crisis a stronger community and a stronger co-op.

My household’s income has decreased because of the pandemic. What options do I have to pay my bill?

We are happy to work with you. Please contact Benton REA’s billing department at 509-786-2913 to discuss your options or set up a payment arrangement.

You may also qualify for help through Benton REA’s new Power To Care bill assistance program. Benton County residents should apply through the Benton Franklin Community Action Committee. They can be reached at 509-545-4042. Yakima County residents should apply through the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic/Northwest Community Action Center. They can be reached at 509-865-7630. Tell the agency you wish to apply for Benton REA’s Power To Care funds.

Many other organizations have funding available for income-qualified households. A list is available at BentonREA.org/my-account/energy-assistance/.

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

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 BentonREA.org/energy-savings/energy-audits.

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

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

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 BentonREA.org/sign-up-for-service.

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?

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 and pricing. 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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