In this blog, we will explain what an early termination fee (ETF) is and if/when you have to pay it.
Some people interested in Energy Ogre are faced with a choice: Do I pay the early termination fee with my current provider now or wait until my contract expires? The good news is that we can help you decide!
The Public Utility Commission allows your retail electricity provider to charge an early termination fee (ETF) if you switch to another provider before your contract expires.
Some potential members are unaware they’re in a contract when they come to us. Keep an eye out for the fine print on your bills. Most often, your contract end date is listed in very small print and/or placed in the middle of a paragraph so it doesn’t stand out.
Electricity contracts can be extremely confusing, especially at the end of the contract term.
Can You Avoid Early Termination Fees?
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 retail electricity providers are only 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 without incurring the fee or getting moved into a variable rate. More often than not, the renewal rates offered by your current provider are much higher than what you can secure by switching to a new provider.
You can also avoid an early termination fee if you are moving from a home. The contract is attached to the location, not the person. If you are an Energy Ogre member, just give us a call, and we will help make it a smooth transition!
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 particular verbiage means your contract may not end until AFTER the date listed, depending on the date your meter is read. Unfortunately, if you were to decide to switch within the allowed 14-day window using the wrong end date, they can slap an ETF on you for not understanding this.
- Early renewal notices
According to the Public Utility Commission, the retail electricity provider (REP) shall send a written notice when a contract is expiring. It has to be at least 30 days or one billing cycle prior to the contract expiration date.
But it also can’t be more than 60 days or two billing cycles in advance of contract expiration for a residential customer. From our experience, many REPs send these renewal notices 60 days out, and some even 90 days in advance.
Consequently, you may be roped into renewing earlier than you really need to. Hence, eliminating the option of choosing another provider offering a better price.
Does Energy Ogre Pay Early Termination Fees?
At Energy Ogre, we only charge you $10 per month or $120 per year for our service. You’ll never be charged another dime. Nada. Niente. Nothing.
Do we pay your termination fee if necessary to become a member? Sorry, no. At $10 a month, we aren’t in the business to get rich quickly. If we were paying our members' ETFs, we'd be “ogre-the-top” broke!
The decision of whether or not to switch, as well as paying the fee, will be up to you. Weighing out the options? Look at it this way…
Give Us a Try and Get Back to Living Your Brightest Life!
When you sign up for our service, we will ask you to send us a copy of your most recent bill. That way, we can read the fine print to confirm the terms of your current contract. We’ll also request your historic usage from your Transmission/Distribution Service Provider (TDSP). Finally, we will calculate what you are currently paying for electricity.
We want to make sure the plan we recommend will actually save you money if you break your contract. Speaking of plans, now’s a great time to run our free Savings Calculator, which will show you exactly how much you could save with us!
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 decide whether to switch or not.
This will include the real savings you can achieve—not a guess based on what seems to be a low kilowatt-hour rate.
Ready to view your options? Sign up for Energy Ogre here.