The Benton PUD is considering increasing the base charge in residential power bills from the $11.05 charge paid monthly for most home use now to about $15.60 a month.
The base rate would be charged per day, resulting in an average increase of $4.55 each month per home.
Residential customers pay both a base rate and a charge for the amount of electricity used per month. The rate for the amount of electricity used would remain the same for them.
The base charge increase is part of a proposal to raise PUD rates an average of 3.9 percent a month starting in September.
Rate increases for other types of customers — including commercial, industrial and agricultural irrigation — also are proposed, ranging from 1 to 7 percent.
PUD staff told the PUD Commission at its Tuesday meeting that the rate increase is needed because of rising costs to purchase power to distribute to PUD customers.
Bonneville Power Administration increased Benton PUD wholesale rates five percent in 2013 and plans an additional increase in rates of 6.5 percent in October 2015. The PUD’s last rate increase was in January 2012.
Renewable energy requirements under the Energy Independence Act also impact power costs, representing a 2.6 percent increase for residential customers bills, according to the PUD.
Part of the increased costs will be paid for out of PUD reserves under the proposal being considered by the commission. Without the use of reserves, a 5.9 percent increase overall in rates would be needed, according to staff.
A public meeting on the proposal will be held at 6 p.m. May 5 at the Benton PUD auditorium, 2721 W. 10th Ave., Kennewick Washington.