How to handle the power bill hikes this winter season - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How to handle the power bill hikes this winter season

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KENNEWICK, WA - The severe weather we've been having lately is causing a dramatic spike in heating and power bills across the region. For families on tight budgets, the increase in cost to keep the house warm might make the power bill completely unaffordable. 

Reporter Rex Carlin visited Benton PUD today and learned how a household who may be struggling to pay these increasing winter power bills could find some much needed relief.

Benton PUD officials told us that the spike in power bills over the past couple weeks has spiked dramatically due to the harsh weather, school closures leading to kids being home more often, and the usual holiday season spike.

But they tell us there are some relief options.

"We can offer the budget payment program to our customers, so that allows a customer to pay a fixed amount every month," said Paula Ball, Director of Customer Programs. "Then we recalculate the budget amount about once every six months based on the customer's previous usage. We can also extend payments over a several month period. For example, if a customer has a current bill and it's quite a bit higher than normal, then we might be able to extend that over a two or three month period."

Benton PUD offers other programs such as the Helping Hands Program, where customers can donate additional money to their bill to go towards another household's payment; the Veteran's Assistance Fund; and low-income senior and low-income disabled discounts.

If you want to find out if you qualify for any of these programs, or to just find out some more information, visit bentonpud.org or call 509-582-2175.

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