Red Flags To Look Out For In Your New Energy Provider

Aug 24, 2023 | Good to Know

Choosing a retail electricity provider is a big decision. But even with so many options available, finding a reliable energy provider can still be a smooth and hassle-free experience when you know what to look for — and what to look out for. In this article, we’ll offer advice on identifying common red flags to watch for when selecting an electricity provider. Whether you rent, own your home, or are a business owner, this information will empower you to make an informed choice. Let’s explore some red flags to watch for when selecting your energy partner.

A Bad Reputation

Customer reviews offer much information beyond what’s stated on the provider’s website. Before making a decision about a REP, take the time to research the provider’s reputation thoroughly. Start by checking online customer reviews. These insights come directly from real customers who have experienced the company’s service firsthand. Look for patterns and trends in the reviews to get a more accurate picture.

How to Avoid It

As the saying goes, you need to know who you’re dealing with. So, go beyond what the businesses’ advertisements promise and search for authentic user experiences to corroborate them (ideally). Pay special attention to comments on billing practices, customer service responsiveness, and overall satisfaction levels. Look at both positive and negative reviews to get a balanced perspective.

While the company’s website will undoubtedly feature reviews, you should also check third-party platforms specializing in energy provider reviews and rankings. These sources often provide comprehensive data and user ratings to help you make an informed choice.

Pro-tip: seek recommendations from friends, family, or neighbors who have experience with the provider you are considering. Personal testimonials can be invaluable when deciding to affect your energy supply and monthly bills.

Hidden Fees and Charges

When evaluating energy providers in Texas, be vigilant about hidden fees that may not be evident from the advertised rates. While a provider’s rates might seem appealing at first glance, additional costs can quickly add up and impact your monthly bill. Protect yourself from surprises by understanding the potential hidden fees and charges lurking.

How to Avoid It 

Advertised rates may not always tell the whole story, so read between the lines. Providers may showcase enticing rates to attract customers, but certain fees might be buried in the fine print. The Energy Facts Label (EFL) is a valuable tool that can help consumers avoid hidden costs and fees when choosing a retail electricity provider. It provides clear and transparent information so you can identify any hidden fees, additional charges, or special conditions that might not be obvious in the advertised rates. If you need help understanding your EFL, you can use our guide.

Wonky Contract Terms 

Ultra-long contract lengths, high penalties for early termination, variable rate plans with unexpected rate spikes — these are just a few of the unwanted surprises that can result from not understanding the terms of a contract. It’s not uncommon for some REPs to call a lot of attention to a low rate or a special incentive to help distract you from unfavorable contract terms that are only mentioned in the fine print. 

How to Avoid It

Before signing up with an energy provider, carefully review the contract and its terms and conditions. Make sure you understand the contract’s duration. Sometimes the low rate comes at the expense of being locked into a contract for several years — and many contracts have early termination fees for switching providers before the contract ends.

Watch out for variable rate contracts. You might think you’re getting one rate, but if the market fluctuates, you could be on the hook for a lot more than you thought. Many people prefer more predictability from fixed-rate plans that offer the same rate throughout the contract.

And don’t just assume that the contract’s end date will hold. Some providers may automatically renew your contract, which could lead to rate changes or different terms. If you wish to switch providers after the initial term, you need to understand the renewal process and any necessary steps to terminate the agreement. Sometimes canceling must be done in a specific time window and you don’t want to find out the hard way that it lapsed.

Poor Service Reliability

A provider with a history of frequent outages and prolonged restoration times can disrupt your daily life, causing inconvenience, discomfort, and potential financial losses. Moreover, outages may indicate a lack of investment in infrastructure and maintenance, raising concerns about the provider’s commitment to delivering a dependable power supply. As a customer, you deserve reliable and prompt service, especially during critical situations.

How to Avoid It 

Reach out to the prospective energy providers and ask about the average outage frequency in your area. Then, research restoration times in your area and compare it to how long it takes other providers to restore power after an outage. When you’re browsing customer reviews, watch for any mentioning problems with prolonged outages or service disruptions. Weather events and downtime does happen, but you want verification that the provider you’re considering is responsive and reactive when the lights go out.

Bad Customer Service 

Bad customer service is a major red flag when choosing a retail electricity provider in Texas because it directly affects your overall experience. Dealing with unresponsive or unhelpful customer support is frustrating and time-consuming, especially when you encounter billing issues, service inquiries, or need assistance during emergencies. Who wants to struggle with any of that?

How to Avoid It 

One of the first things to check when evaluating a company’s capacity for support is how available they make themselves. Check their contact page. Do they make themselves available by any means? Do they offer 24/7 phone support and online chat? Call the line — do you get a live person quickly or get lost in a phone tree? If someone answers, tell them you’re considering service with the company and want to know if they pick up the phone. Regardless of how they respond, you’ll get a feel for how they take care of their customers.

Energy Texas Is the Texas Electricity Provider Without Red Flags

Selecting the right energy provider for your home is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. With so many options available, it’s essential to be vigilant and avoid potential red flags that could lead to headaches. As you search for the perfect energy partner, keep Energy Texas in mind.

As your trusted energy partner, we are committed to providing Tex-cellent service and helping you power your home efficiently and affordably. With Energy Texas, you can have peace of mind knowing you’re in good hands. Choose us as your reliable Texas energy provider, and let’s work together to create a brighter and more sustainable energy future for your home.

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