Who We Are   News   Energy Fuel Mix   Fast Facts   Building For The Future  

Benton PUD History

Benton PUD has been a trusted part of the communities we serve for seventy-five years with a long tradition of forward-thinking anchored in our public power heritage and strong customer service focus.  This has defined us since day one and continues to be the reason for our existence. 

Washington’s first initiative, passed by voters in 1930, gave citizens of each county the right to form a public utility district (PUD).  Benton PUD was organized by a local vote of the people in 1934.  PUDs were created to provide electricity, water and sewer services for the benefit of the people of Washington State.  Since their conception, the role of public utility districts has expanded to include wholesale broadband telecommunication services. 

On September 12, 1946, Benton PUD became a locally owned, non-profit operating utility.  Those first years were busy upgrading and expanding the electricity delivery systems to handle the fast-growing county.  While the average monthly bill in 1946 was around $5, electricity was only used for lighting, a few appliances and in rare cases, heat.  Thanks to electricity, our quality of life has improved greatly over the years.  Today, we take affordable and reliable electricity for granted not only to operate our computers, televisions and charge our cell phones but as an essential service critical to our health, safety, and overall well-being. 

During Benton PUD's first year of operation, manager John Whitehead, also managed the Benton REA. At that time Benton PUD's main office was in Prosser and the Kennewick office was in downtown Kennewick on Kennewick Avenue. On November 20, 1947, Mr. Whitehead resigned because the REA Management Division recommended dissolution of joint management and operation of Benton REA and Benton PUD. In the spring of 1955, Benton PUD moved to new headquarters at 524 S. Auburn in Kennewick.

In January 1994, Benton PUD moved its Kennewick headquarters to its present location of 2721 W. 10th Avenue. The Prosser office opened a new facility in 2007 at 250 N. Gap Road.

Benton PUD now serves over 55,000 customers in Kennewick, Finley, Benton City, Prosser, and outlying areas.

Public Power

PUDs, municipalities, and co-ops operate public power systems with the common purpose to provide reliable, not-for-profit services to their customer.  Today there are twenty-eight PUDs that serve more than 1.7 million citizens throughout Washington.  Nationally, nearly 15% of electric customers are serviced by public power in over 2,000 communities. 

As your local public power utility, Benton PUD takes pride in being your trusted energy partner and providing you the following benefits:

Low Cost Service – All of our revenues are used to run the utility – there is no profit in our rates.  Our customer’s bills have remained below the benchmark of other utilities within the Northwest, including both PUDs and Investor-Owned Utilities.

Local Ownership & Control – Our customers are our owners.  We are governed by a local three-person Commission that you elect.  They must balance the needs of multiple stakeholders input and state and federal regulations, but in the end you have a voice in decisions made by the utility.

Excellent Customer Service – We take pride in serving our customers.  We strive to not only meet but to exceed your expectations and this is reflected in the high customer satisfaction scores you routinely give us on our customer surveys. 

Reliability – The number one priority is keeping the lights on.  We achieve this through system planning and maintenance, including investment in infrastructure.  If something does go wrong – lightning strikes, wind or equipment failure – our crews are on call around the clock to quickly restore your power.