How to Avoid Paying Extra on Your Electric Bills
Noting can ruin your day more than seeing extra fees or charges on your electricity bill that you didn’t expect to be there. Sadly, these terms and conditions tend to hide in plain sight. If you want to avoid the unpleasant surprise of extra charges, then you should know about these three sneaky electric plan terms to avoid.
1. Service Fees
Most customers know about early termination fees and usage fees. You can find them on your Electricity Facts Label (EFL). However, many electricity providers have additional service fees most people don’t know about until they see them on the bill.
Be aware of these additional sneaky electric service fees:
- Payment Assist Fee: Charge per call for processing payments over the phone (usually under $5 per call).
- Agent Assist Fee: Charge per call for resolving issues (usually under $5 per call).
- Document Process Fee: Charge for bill copies, duplicate bills, or payment reference letters. (usually under $5).
- Summary Bill Fee: Charge for requesting a bill summary (usually under $5 per request).
The best way to avoid these fees is to manage and pay your electricity bills online. All the electricity providers in Texas have online portals for customers. Simply log in and manage your accounts from there. Avoid calling in unless it’s absolutely necessary.
2. Late Payment Fees and Penalties
While many people know about late payment fees, they can be a bit more complex with your electricity bill. Plus, they can add up quickly. Look out for these fees:
- Late Payment Penalty: Charge for overdue bills or delinquent balances (usually around 5% of the balance due).
- Insufficient Funds: If your payment bounces, is returned or not processed, this fee tends to be steep, between $20 – $30 each time.
- Disconnect Notice Fee: Charge for each disconnect notification (can be between $20 – $30).
- Disconnect Recovery Fee: Charge for reconnecting your service after disconnecting (can be between $20 – $30 or more plus TDU charges.)
The easiest way to avoid these fees is simply to always pay your electricity bills on time.
3. Those Sneaky Default Electric Products
What happens at the end of your electricity contract? Most plans will notify you that your plan is about to end and give you several new options to choose from. However, don’t assume they’ll pick the best option for you if you don’t choose.
While sometimes, electricity providers will offer you a Renewal Agreement (where they renew your contract with updated rates), that isn’t always the case. Other times, you’ll be shifted to their default product instead.
Default products are month-to-month plans with variable rates. Usually, these rates are more expensive than what you’d pay in a fixed-rate plan. In fact, in the 2021 winter storm, many electric customers faced HUGE energy bills because they were stuck in variable rate plans, some because they ignored renewal notices!
How do you avoid default products?
Take the time to shop for new electricity plans BEFORE your contract expires. You should always know the date your contract expires. And be ready to switch to a new electricity plan when your current one expires.
TIP — Once you begin a new plan, set an alarm on your smart phone for one month before the plan expires!
Compare Cheap Electric Rates in Dallas
You have the power to choose the cheapest electricity in Dallas. But there are a lot of plans out there and the fine print is always changing. That’s why it helps to have the extra edge when shopping for the cheapest electricity rates in Dallas. Of course, if you want to avoid costly sneaky pitfalls on your electric bills, then you need the right guide.
Get the latest insights, tips, and tricks designed to help you save BIG on your monthly electric bills by visiting https://www.texaselectricityratings.com/. And let us guide you to cheaper electricity bills today!