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Winter storm Uri hit North America a few days ago, and it brought record low temperatures in our parts. The subzero temperatures knocked millions of Texans off the power- grid and into deep freezes, and we’re all understandably upset about this.

If you are concerned about your electric bill skyrocketing as a result of the storm, and you are an Energy Ogre member--we’ve got you covered.

Can the fixed rate in my contract be changed by my provider, ERCOT, or the PUCT? Are my bills going to skyrocket because of the storm?

Short answer: No.

No one can change your fixed energy charge during your contract term, and you should not expect a drastic increase in your bill. The terms of service allow for minor administrative changes in TDSP fees (we’re talking fractions of cents every 6-months), but your fixed energy charge is, well, fixed. We only enroll our members in fixed-rate plans. You are not subject to wholesale market prices, and your bill will only increase when your usage increases, but you will not be charged more than the contracted rate at any time during your contract.

What happens if my provider goes out of business? What is a POLR?

Electricity providers sometimes shut their doors, and a situation like this could lead some of them to do so. When this happens, a regulated process enforced by the Public Utility Commission transfers its customers to a POLR or Provider of Last Resort. If the provider you are currently with leaves the marketplace, you will automatically be transferred to a different provider and will not lose power. We will ensure that your new plan’s rate is reasonable and switch you immediately if it is not. In other words, we’ve got you covered.

Should I turn off automatic payment before I get an outrageous bill?

In general, we don’t recommend turning off automatic payments. Electric bills generate at least two weeks before they are due, so you will have time to review it. If you turn off automatic payment and miss paying the bill on time, your power could get disconnected. If you’re an Energy Ogre member and currently enrolled in automatic payments, you can rest easy that you will not receive a surprise bill.

If you have friends enrolled in a variable, index, or wholesale rate, you should advise them to check with their provider what options are available to you.

My contract expires over the next few months. How will the freeze affect my new contract rate?

We have not seen any material difference in the kind of rate programs available on the market today. Some electricity providers have delayed taking on new customers for a short time, but we work far enough ahead of your contract end date that this is unlikely to affect you. This extreme weather event was an outlier, and the power grid has already returned to normal market operations. We can’t always predict the market, but we are confident that the next contract we find for you will be competitive.

Our CEO, Jesson Bradshaw, addresses additional questions on our blog.