Don’t get trapped by your electricity company.
When a first date just isn’t working out, sometimes the smartest option is to cut your losses and leave early. But what if, after your polite excuses, your bad date demands that you leave some money for dinner and a movie even after you made it clear you wouldn’t be staying?
While this scenario sounds outrageous, thousands of Texans have been roped into the exact same situation by their electric providers. Many electric providers lock consumers into multi-year contracts, then pile on hidden costs and charge outrageous early termination fees to break those contracts. If you’re in the market for a new electricity company in Texas, here are some things to consider before making a commitment.
Hidden fees mean big surprises.
Most people use a flattering photo for their online dating profile, just like many electric providers advertise only their lowest electricity rates. However, a lot of energy companies are basically catfishing, luring new customers into multi-year contracts by promising low monthly bills, then tacking on hidden fees that cause electricity rates to skyrocket. For example, it only costs a few dollars to connect and disconnect electricity to a home, but some providers charge up to $100 for an “expedited” connection. In fact, according to our research, out of the 2,000 electricity plans available at Powertochoose.org:
- 87% have early termination fees
- 61% have a disconnection notice fee
- 52% have a minimum usage fee
- 49% have a base charge fee
- 41% have a customer care call fee
- 39% have a document request fee
All those hidden fees generally inspire consumers to take their complaints to customer service, and then things really get messy, since it’s actually in some provider’s best interests to give customers the runaround. If they charge a “customer care call fee”—and 41% of them do, as noted above—they will actually make money off of your complaint call.
Electricity companies send mixed messages.
In the initial stages of picking a new plan, electric providers can come on strong, offering low monthly bills and first-rate customer service. But as the relationship progresses, many companies let their predatory practices come out. Some Texas electric providers simply stop sending monthly bills, letting balances (and late fees) pile up. Others will convert customers automatically to high-priced variable-rate plans after the initial term contract is up—and hope the customer doesn’t notice for a while that all their costs have shot up. All this poor service actually serves your electric provider’s agenda because if they can get customers to ditch their contracts early, they get a hefty termination fee—meaning the electric providers are actually making money by alienating customers.
All those hidden fees, in addition to break fees can really add up, leaving consumers with an awful choice: either stay in a miserable, costly relationship with their electric provider or pay the equivalent of a couple months’ electricity bills to break the contract.
Breaking up should be free.
Luckily, Griddy offers a better solution. With Griddy, there are no contracts or cancellation fees. You simply pay $9.99 a month for membership plus the real-time rate of electricity with no extra charges. With pay-as-you-go, and the ability to track your electricity usage on the Griddy app, there’s never any bill shock at the end of the month. If Griddy doesn’t end up being your perfect electricity match, you can walk away any time with no extra fee. Don’t buy into a costly long-term relationship with another electric provider. Griddy saves you money by keeping it casual.