Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions . . .
What are your hours? Big Bend Electric Cooperative’s office hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday except holidays.
Where/How can I make a payment? Payments may be made at our drop boxes by the due date, mailed to our PO Box in Ritzville to arrive by the due date, or a credit/debit card (Visa or Mastercard) payment may be called in during our office hours to 866-844-2363. A convenience fee will be required and we do not retain your card information, so it is necessary to call the office each time you would like to make a payment.
How do I report an outage? Please call our toll free number 866-844-2363. Alternative phone numbers are listed on our outage reporting page.
How do I disconnect/reconnect power? Please call the office and request a disconnect or reconnect. One of our linemen will be dispatched as soon as the schedule allows.
How do I sign-up for an account? Please call the office and ask to sign-up for an account. Please have a meter number available when you call.
Why are my electric bills so high even though I make great efforts to conserve?
Making comparisons are difficult because everyone uses electricity differently. But comparisons aside, the cost of heating and cooling your home increases as the outside temperature rises in the summer and drops in the winter. How much this affects your electric bill depends on your life style and how energy efficient your home was built: i.e., insulation values of walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, skylights; type of heating system; amount of air infiltration; solar orientation; and floor space or volume of your home.
Capital Credit Questions . . .
I am no longer a member of the Cooperative. Do I forfeit my capital credits? No, capital credits stay with you even after you are no longer an active member of the Cooperative. It is important to keep your address current with us until all capital credits have been distributed.
Can I receive my capital credits in a lump sum after I leave the Coop? No, we do not pay out early retirements. When the Board of Directors authorizes a retirement, checks will be distributed.
I found an old capital credit check, is it too late to cash it? Our capital credit checks do not have a stale date on them. However many banks will not cash a check that is over 6 months old. If your check is over 1 year old, or your bank will not cash the check, please contact our office and we will reissue a new check.
How often will I receive my capital credit checks and how much will they be? The amount of capital credits to be refunded depends upon prior years’ margins and future capital needs. The Board of Directors will decide if there will be a capital credit retirement and which years to pay. The Board has chosen to return capital credits to the members for over 30 years. These checks have been distributed in February.
For more details on Capital Credits, read our Capital Credits page.
Engineering Questions . . .
When should I notify the cooperative that I’m going to install a heat pump or increase my pump horsepower? As soon as your plans for the upgrade are finalized, but well before the equipment is installed, contact the Cooperative and ask for one of the Staking Engineers. We need to make sure that our facilities are sufficient to serve the new load. Otherwise, your quality of service may suffer.
How long does it take to get power to a new house, pump site or other new load? The time necessary to fulfill a request varies from a few weeks to several months depending on how much work needs to be done, permitting issues and many other considerations. Please contact one of our Staking Engineers as soon as you know the details (pump size, building location and electrical load, etc.) and we will work to meet your timeline.
How do I get a newly constructed irrigation account connected?
After your metering equipment has been installed and inspected by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, the Cooperative has been notified by the Department of Labor & Industries that the inspection passed, and the facility charges have been paid, you may call the office and request that the new account be connected.
How do I get a newly constructed general service or residential account connected?
After your metering equipment has been installed and inspected by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries and the Cooperative has been notified by the Department of Labor & Industries that the inspection passed, you may call the office and request that the new account be connected.
How do I apply for a new electrical service?
Please contact a Big Bend Electric Cooperative Staking Engineer. The Staking Engineer will send you a Service Application to be completed and returned, or you can print the Service Application from our web site and submit it to us by mail, fax, email, or at one of our offices. We will respond to you as soon as we can.
How do find out if my existing electrical service will handle new added load(s)?
Please contact a Big Bend Electric Cooperative Staking Engineer. The Staking Engineer will send you a Service Upgrade Application to be completed and returned, or you can print the Service Upgrade Application from our web site and submit it to us by mail, fax, email, or at one of our offices. We will respond to you as soon as we can.
Upon receipt of the application, the Staking Engineer will determine if the Cooperative’s facilities will need to be upgraded.
How do I find out what type of metering should be installed for my newly constructed electrical service?
You can find out what type of metering should be installed by asking the Staking Engineer that handled your new service request. If he or she is not available you can talk another Staking Engineer or the Manager of Engineering for the type of metering to be installed.
How do I find out what type of metering to install for a meter base that has burned up?
Since metering requirements have changed over the years, the metering equipment should not simply be replaced with the same type that is presently at the site. You should talk to a Staking Engineer or the Manager of Engineering to determine what type of metering should be installed to replace the existing metering.
What is the minimum distance that a new structure or trees should be from an existing power line?
If there are overhead power lines and your plans are within 15 feet of the power line, call and talk to one of our Staking Engineers. If it is underground power or you are not sure, call and discuss your plans with a Staking Engineer.