RK Digest

What to Do If You Receive an Energy Contract Early Termination Fee




Have you recently received an energy contract early termination fee letter that you’re unsure about? Perhaps an energy company switched your provider without your knowledge, and now the original supplier is charging you for breaking the contract that you signed. Don’t panic, we know how to help you avoid these fees.

What is an Early Termination Fee?

When you sign a fixed-rate energy contract, energy suppliers set a price based on the current market over a long-term agreement. Often, there may be transfer or other fixed costs that they expect to make back over the length of the contract. Other times, they’re simply offering a discount to guarantee your continued business. And almost always, they purchase the energy upfront when you sign the contract. In this case, when a contract is terminated early, the energy company is left with the loss because they purchased enough energy for the entire term and your contract was canceled before this period of time. This is when (and why) the ETF comes into play.

“But I didn’t break my contract….”

Early termination fees aren’t usually your fault. You may have been the victim of a fraud, or the supplier may have taken advantage of one of your employee’s lack of knowledge.

The most common scenario is a slamming scam where an energy supplier signs you up without your knowledge or consent. They might use overly aggressive sales tactics, or an employee desperate to make a sales commission might falsify paperwork.

In a slamming scam, the new supplier tries to obtain your current utility account information in order to switch it over to their company. For example, they might call your secretary or walk into your business while impersonating your current supplier or your utility asking to verify account information. They may also give you or your employees documents that they say offer a discount or renewal from your current supplier but really bury an authorization to switch providers within the small print. Or, even more surprisingly, they may even fraudulently sign your name on a contract themselves.

What Can RK Energy Do to Help?

If you receive a letter stating that you owe an early contract termination fee, the first thing you should do is call RK Energy Group. Depending on why you’re being charged the fee, we have several ways to help you avoid it.

The first step is finding out exactly what happened. We’ll review the paperwork and talk to any employees who may have had contact with the new supplier who is trying to switch your account. We’ll request the “signed” contract in question from the new supplier and review it with you to check the authenticity. We’re also familiar with how energy suppliers in the area operate and can add our own insights into what might have happened.

In the event of fraud, we will challenge the validity of the “new” contract that you didn’t sign. This might involve strongly suggesting to the supplier that they should agree that the contract is fraudulent. We may also help you file a complaint with the Public Service Commission, which may help in getting the energy company to cancel the “new” fraudulent contract. Depending on what the supplier is willing to do, you may have the option to file charges or enter into mediation. Ultimately, RK Energy will get your account(s) switched back to the original supplier so that the early termination fees will be canceled.

The experts at RK Energy Group can make sure you don’t fall victim to energy supplier scams:

  • Inform your employees never to give utility account information to anyone
  • Keep the utility bills in a secure location.

We also recommend that you contact your utility to put a “block” on your account so that no energy company can switch you without your consent. RK Energy Group can help you with this.

If the early termination fee is part of a legitimate contract, there may be room for a re-negotiation. One of the most common options is a blend and extend contract. If energy rates have fallen, your supplier may be willing to blend the old rate with the new rate in exchange for a longer contract. For example, if your old rate was $0.10 and current market rates are $0.08, they might agree to a new $0.09 rate. You win by receiving a lower rate with no early termination fee, and they win by locking in your business for a longer period.

TAKEAWAYS

  • You may not have to pay an early termination fee if it’s the result of a slamming scam or fraud.
  • There are ways to avoid being the victim of a scam.
  • You may also be able to negotiate the rate of your current contract.
  • RK Energy Group can help you navigate through this unfortunate situation.

To learn more or to take the first steps towards avoiding a contract early termination fee, contact RK Energy Group.