Building For The Future   Plug Into Your Future  

Growing to meet the needs of our community

As our community grows, investment in our electric infrastructure is a must.  Benton PUD has a number of capital projects underway to improve the overall reliability of our electric distribution system and help reduce the risk of prolonged outages.

Sunset Road-to-Reata Road Transmission Project

Benton PUD and the Richland Energy Services (RES) are working on a 115kV transmission line project in the south Badger Mountain and Badger Canyon areas to provide needed capacity and reliability for new and existing customers.  The transmission line will run along portions of Jacobs Road, Dallas Road and I-82.  Construction began in the second quarter of 2017.  RES constructed the line from the Reata Road Substation to the Dallas Road Substation in 2017.  Benton PUD expects to energize the line from the Sunset Road Substation to the Dallas Road Substation in 2019.

Sunset Road-to-Reata Road Transmission Project Customer Letter
Sunset Road-to-Reata Road Transmission Project Fact Sheet
Sunset Road-to-Reata Road Transmission Project Map

Benton City Substation Project

Benton City Substation is home to the District’s oldest power transformer (69 years) which is at the end of its serviceable life. As with other substations acquired by the District from BPA, short-circuit protection systems consist of outdated fuses and electromechanical relays.

The rebuilt Benton City Substation will include microprocessor based protective relays paired with a 115 kilovolt circuit switcher, vacuum type distribution circuit breakers, and new SCADA technology to improve operational reliability and visibility.  SCADA upgrades will include fiber-optic communications through a line extension from the District’s broadband network in Benton City.

Capacity requirements have also grown in the Benton City and south Red Mountain area due to the expansion of irrigation loads and associated growth in agriculture. District planning studies have revealed growing capacity constraints that limit load transfer capability between Sunset Road and Benton City substations during outage conditions. This means that in the event of a 115-kV transmission or substation outage it may not be possible to pick up all customers during high summer-loading periods. The solution to this constraint is to increase the capacity of Benton City Substation by replacing the existing power transformers.

Orchard View Project

Orchard View Bay project

This Orchard View project was initially considered as an alternative to Leslie Road Substation in order to provide transfer capability to Reata Substation and was included in engineering’s draft of the 2018 budget. However, when it became clear that Leslie Road Substation would be completed before the end of 2018 and given the uncertainty of whether a final plan would be approved by the Port of Kennewick for Vista Field, the project was deferred. Following completion of the District’s 2018 budget process, the Port of Kennewick approved the long-awaited master plan for the redevelopment of the Vista Field area which set the course for planned development and load growth beginning in 2018.

Following the Port of Kennewick’s finalization of the Vista Field Master Plan, the District received a number of requests for additional capacity in the south Vista Field area. The bay addition and subsequent feeder additions will also bridge the gap in time that is typically required for the BPA interconnection request for the Edison Street Substation, located near Edison and Canal Drive, which will meet the long term capacity requirements for the Vista Field area and surrounding development.

Orchard View Feeder project

The District is currently under construction to bring a second power transformer on-line at Orchard View Substation, known as Orchard View Bay 2. These projects will install a vault and conduit system to facilitate the distribution of additional substation capacity from Orchard View Bay 2 to the Southridge Development area including Bob Olsen Parkway as well as continued development along 10th Ave.

At the time the District was developing the 2019 budget it was unknown that the City of Kennewick would secure funding for the widening of 10th Ave from Columbia Center Boulevard to Lois Lane. This section of 10th Ave had previously been identified by District Staff as the route for feeders from Orchard View Substation to tie into the Southridge area. With the City receiving funding for their project it became beneficial to install the Conduit and Vault system for the Orchard View feeders while the City’s contractor has the area under construction. Coordinating the District’s construction with the City’s construction schedule saves on both trenching and restoration costs, but requires additional work to be added to the scope of Project #505932 and for Project #560140 to be created.

These projects also increase distribution feeder capacity to accommodate the Port of Kennewick’s Vista Field re-development plans and to increase capacity for the existing South Vista Field area which is experiencing further development and load growth.


Benton PUD Substation Electricians added a second transformer bay to Orchard View
substation located on Columbia Center Boulevard. The second bay will serve new
customers in both the Vista Field and Southridge areas. Pictured left to right: Robert
Davis, Brandon Billingsley, Duane Szendre, Todd Gaston, Jim Tietsort and Brent Wurz.