The summer heat and higher electricity rates mean we are all paying more for our electric bills right now. What you see is not always what you get. Amy Davis explains the new hidden fees some companies are now charging customers.
Shopping for an electric company? Look at the fine print
If you’re shopping around for a new electricity plan you should know about some new fees some companies are charging. Electric providers are trying to keep their rates competitive. They make up for the lower rates by charging for other things.
“If you go with these newer named electricity providers, they do have very attractive electricity rates. But now there’s potential to have these hidden fees,” said Devon Bass, Vault Electricity.
Vault Electricity compares electric company’s rates and plans. Recently, Devon Bass with Vault Electricity noticed the trend of companies adding charges for services that used to be free.
“Now, if you want to talk to a representative, oftentimes there’s a fee for that. You want to get a bill in the mail, another fee,” said Bass.
Examples of hidden fees on electricity bills:
- $5 -$25 request documents
- $4-$7 pay bill over phone
- $3-$5 opt out of autopay
- $5 collect payment call
Vault Electricity ranked hidden fees for 50 electric companies (you can see the full list here). Some had as many as 16 different types of extra charges. But Bass says as long as you know about them, you can avoid them. Also, going with these lesser-known companies can be worth it.
“You get the lower bills or the lower electricity rates upfront, and as long as an issue doesn’t arise, then that will never come into play,” he explains.
We say “hidden”, but these fees are not secret. Texas electric providers must provide an “electricity facts label,” and clearly explain all of their terms and fees. [How to read your electricity facts label]
Vault Electricity has an interactive tool where you can research electric providers and see which companies have the most and least of these newer additional fees. You can also use Compare Power to research various companies.
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