A very, very old saying goes, “They get you comin’, and they get you goin’.” It may seem that this chestnut still applies to electric companies, when you want to use a service like Energy Ogre. Likewise, with an early termination fee.
Some Energy Ogre members are faced with a choice: do I pay my early termination fee now? Do I sign up, or wait until my contract expires? The Public Utility Commission allows your REP to charge an early termination fee (ETF) if you switch to another provider before your contract expires.
Other potential members don’t even know they are in a contract. Similarly, they are duped with undecipherable contract end dates. Read the fine print highlighted below from one of our members electricity bill.
Let’s face it, the average consumer would would have to work “ogre-time” to learn when this contract date ends. Retail Energy Provider (REP) contracts can be extremely confusing, especially at the end of the contract term.
Can You Avoid Early Termination Fees from Electric Utilities?
A customer can avoid an early termination fee if they switch no earlier than 14 days before their contract expiration date. Of course, this is the tricky part. Because Texas REPs are required to notify you 30 days before your contract expires. This leaves you a very tight window to shop for a new provider and then switch before incurring that fee.
Technically you can avoid the early termination fee, provided you get that notification and react to it in time.
Early Termination Fee Traps
There are a couple of “gotchas” to be wary of when it comes to contract end dates and early termination fees.
- Confusing contract end dates
Many electricity customers have a difficult time discerning when their contract actually expires. This bill is a perfect example. What would be your guess on the end date? This can be “ogre-vating” to say the least!
- Early renewal notices
According to The Public Utility Commission, the REP shall send a written notice. A contract expiration must be sent. It has to be at least 30 days or one billing cycle prior to the date of contract expiration. But, it can’t be more than 60 days or two billing cycles in advance of contract expiration for a residential customer. From our experience, some REPs send these renewal notices 60 and even 90 days in advance. Consequently, it ropes you into renewing earlier than you really need to. Hence, eliminating the option of choosing another provider with a better price.
Does Energy Ogre Pay Early Termination Fees?
At Energy Ogre, we only charge you $10 per month for our service, or $120 per year. You’ll never be charged another dime. Nada. Niente. Nothing. But can we pay your termination fee in order to become a member? Sorry, no. At $10 a month, we aren’t in the business to get rich quick. If we were paying our members ETF, our Ogre would be “ogre-the-top” broke!
Furthermore, Energy Ogre is not a big fan of contracts in the retail energy space. Because of that, we never ask you to engage in a contract with Energy Ogre to manage your electricity buying experience. So you can cancel your service at any time if you’re unhappy and we will not charge you a fee for doing so! Not one thin dime. Nada. Niente…well, you get the point.
When you sign up for our service, we will ask you to send us a copy of your bill. That way, that we can read the fine print to confirm the terms of your current contract. For example, the exact contract end date and early termination fees if there are any. We’ll also request your historic usage from your area’s central electricity distributor.
Finally, we will calculate what you are currently paying for electricity. We want to make sure your new plan will actually save you money. We can’t help you avoid paying any termination fees required by your current provider. But, we can present you with all the real information you’ll need to know to make a switch. This will include the real costs to switch, and the real savings you can achieve–not a guess based on what seems to be a low kilowatt hour rate.