What's an Early Termination Fee (ETF)?

In this blog, we’ll discuss what an early termination fee is, how it could affect what you pay for Texas electricity, what you can do to avoid them, and what you should look out for. 

We all know breakups aren’t easy. Who gets the couch? Do I need a new Netflix account? Will the one come along soon? Yeah, there’s always a price to pay it seems, but if the situation isn’t working, you shouldn’t stay in it. Now think about this–if your electricity contract has you overpaying and there’s a cheaper rate available, why stick with the old ball and chain? In Texas, you do have the power to choose a new contract with a different retail electric provider (REP).

That being said, the Public Utility Commission of Texas allows your electricity provider to charge an early termination fee (ETF) if you switch to another company before your contract expires.

Some potential members are unaware they’re in a contract when they come to us at Energy Ogre. So, it's important to keep an eye out for the fine print on your power 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?

Yes, a Texas electricity 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. That’s because Texas retail electric 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.

Texas Electricity Tidbits

Did You Know?

If you're out of contract with your retail electric provider, a variable month-to-month energy rate will be charged. It's usually higher than the contracted rate and can fluctuate each month. Renewal rates offered by your current provider are normally 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 ensure a smooth transition!

Early Termination Fee Traps

There are a couple of “gotchas” to be wary of when it comes to electricity contract end dates and early termination fees.

Confusing contract end dates

Many electricity customers have a difficult time figuring out when their contract actually expires. This bill is a perfect example. What would you guess the end date is?

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.

Run Energy Ogre's Free Savings Calculator

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…

Sign Up

You Have The Power To Choose Better Electricity!

Getting the best Texas electricity rates isn’t hard thanks to Energy Ogre. 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.

Steps to Better Electricity Plan Selection in Texas

Steps to Better Electricity

Even if you're in a contract already, Energy Ogre can help! First, run the free electricity savings calculator at EnergyOgre.com/savings. Second, find out what your early termination fee (ETF) is with your current electricity provider. Third, consider this thought - if your estimated savings is greater than the ETF plus an Energy Ogre membership cost, make the switch and save! Fourth, if you don't want to pay the ETF, join Energy Ogre and we can "snooze" your account, and can enroll you with a new provider within 14 days of your previous contract ending. Easy peasy!

Want Energy Ogre to email you a reminder when it's time to switch your contract? Enter your details below!

Contract Expiration Reminder

As your electricity advocate, we want to make sure the plan we recommend will actually save you money if you break your contract. Hey, 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! Here’s a quick video to show you how it works:

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. It is important to our company’s mission to be real and transparent, and most importantly, on your side.

Energy Ogre wants you to see the real savings you can achieve—not a guess based on what seems to be a low kilowatt-hour rate on various websites.

Ready to take electricity deals shopping off your plate?

Sign up for Energy Ogre here.

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