We will explain what a “provider of last resort” (POLR) is and what it means if you’re now buying electricity from them.
What is a POLR?
A “Provider of Last Resort” (POLR) is a retail electricity provider (REP) that accepts new customers under certain market conditions, particularly when an electricity provider goes out of business.
The electricity plans these new customers are placed in are almost always more expensive than other fixed-rate plans available in the market. Still, consumers need electricity, so the POLR provides it. The good news is you’ll still have electricity, but your next bill will likely increase.
If you’re ever placed with a POLR, you should be contacted by three entities to alert you of the transition: the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), your current retail electricity provider, and the POLR.
Do POLRs Have Expensive Electricity Plans?
POLR plans include a moderate profit margin in addition to the existing energy and delivery charges. This structure gives the POLR a financial incentive to take on new customers when a provider goes out of business.
For example, as of Tuesday, Feb. 2, most POLR rates are north of 13 cents per kWh. Meanwhile, the cheapest fixed-rate plans offered by various REPs throughout Texas are around 8-9 cents per kWh.
Typically, customers will always pay more with a POLR. However, they aren’t in contract with the POLR, so customers can begin shopping the competitive marketplace as soon as they’re placed in the new POLR plan.
Am I Stuck with my POLR?
Since customers are typically placed with a POLR when their REP goes out of business, the existing contract dissolves when the POLR assumes billing responsibilities. As a result, customers can leave the POLR as soon as they find a new provider to enroll with.
Please be aware that after 60 days with a POLR, you will most likely be put into a month-to-month, variable-rate electricity plan. Variable-rate plans will fluctuate each month, increasing or decreasing based on the amount it costs to generate electricity.
Energy Ogre never enrolls members in variable-rate plans because we’re confident fixed-rate plans will always be cheaper.
If you’re with a POLR and don’t feel up to shopping for your next plan, let us help you! After all, that’s what Energy Ogre does best!
POLRs Vary by Area
Every two years, the PUCT determines the POLR of each delivery area. Until 2022, the following REPs have been recognized as residential POLRs. Click here for a detailed chart of POLRs put forth by the PUCT.
**The hyperlinks below will open the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) of each plan offered by each POLR.
Placed with a POLR? Do this ASAP!
Since you are not in contract with the POLR, we suggest switching to a new provider who is accepting new customers. In the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri, most electricity providers withdrew their plans to avoid signing up new members until the market settled.
This made switching to a new provider incredibly difficult for the two last two weeks of February. As of Monday, March 1, most electricity providers began offering competitive plans to prospective members.
If you were placed with a POLR for any reason since the storm, please find a new plan or let us do the work for you!