“Cari, what are the utility bills like in the Tri-Cities?” (or “Cari, how much is my electric bill gonna be every month?”)
Questions about utilities and electric bills are some of the most common questions people ask me. It’s usually out-of-town clients who (understandably) want an idea of what their expenses will be here compared to what they pay now in their current hometown.
But it’s an impossible question for me to answer with any certainty! Here are just a few reasons why:
- A family of six is probably gonna spend more on electricity and utilities than an empty-nesting couple in the same house.
- Some people like to set their thermostat at 75 degrees every day, while others are fine at 65.
- If you work from home, you’ll probably spend more than a family where everyone’s out of the home all day.
- Some homes are more energy efficient than others.
There’s just no way to tell someone THIS is what you can expect to pay. It depends on the size of your household, your lifestyle, and much more.
Good news: Tri-Cities’ electric companies can help!
We just contacted the four major electricity providers in the Tri-Cities to ask them what their typical customer pays every month. Guess what? None of them were able to give us an answer — for the same reasons above.
But all four told us they can still help anyone who’s thinking about relocating here. Here’s what to do:
1.) Call or email the utility provider. (See the contact info below.) Tell them you’re thinking about moving to the area and would like to know about utility costs. Give them the exact address(es) you’re considering.
2.) They’ll tell you either A) the average cost based on that location’s history, or B) the high and low costs at that location over the past 12 months.
Be sure to confirm with them whether they’re sharing energy usage figures or actual customer costs. But keep in mind that, for the same reasons as above, what past residents have used/paid at a specific address may be way different from what you’ll use/pay.
Here’s how to contact the local utility and energy providers:
Benton PUD (serves Kennewick, Finley, and parts of Benton City, Prosser, and outlying areas of Benton County): Contact customer service at (509) 582-2175. There’s also a contact form on their website.
Franklin PUD (serves Pasco, Connell, and Franklin County): They suggested email for first contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. If that doesn’t work, you might try calling them at (509) 547-5591.
City of Richland: The City of Richland also suggested email first: email@example.com. You can also call them at 509-942-1104, option 4.
Benton REA (serves West Richland and parts of Benton City, Prosser, and outlying areas of Benton County): You can call the billing/customer service number: (509) 786-2913. There’s also a “contact billing” email form on their website.
What about water, sewer, and other utility costs?
Some of these are fixed costs. Some are fixed-plus-usage. I suggest you check the city websites for specific rate information, and reach out to them with any questions.
- City of Kennewick utility information
- City of Pasco utility information
- City of Richland utility information
- City of West Richland utility information
With all those links and contact info, you should be able to get a general idea of what you might expect to pay at any Tri-Cities address you’re considering.
There’s one more thing I can say….
Tri-Cities’ electricity costs are generally very cheap!
As I’ve said several times already, your specific electric and utility costs will depend on a number of factors.
But, generally speaking, our electricity costs are among the cheapest in the country. And not just in the Tri-Cities, but all of Washington state. This graph from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that Washington’s residential monthly electric bills are about 35% below average compared to the rest of the country.
Why is our energy so inexpensive compared to other states? Because Washington is one of the top states when it comes to generating hydroelectric and wind power.
The Grand Coulee Dam (pictured at the top of this article) is about three hours north of Tri-Cities. It’s the biggest of many dams in the state that provide hydroelectric power. According to the EIA, Grand Coulee is the biggest power plant by generation capacity in the United States and the seventh-biggest hydropower plant in the world. It supplies electricity to eight western states and parts of Canada.
We also have numerous wind farms across the state and rank in the upper half of wind power generation in the U.S.
Depending on what source you check, which timeframe they’re measuring, and how they’re measuring, you should easily find plenty of government and energy industry sources reporting that Washington’s electrical rates are among the lowest in the country.
So even if I can’t give you specifics, our local cities and electrical providers can — and you’re likely to discover that our electric and utility costs are very affordable!