New Electric ServiceBefore signing up for new electric service, or renewing your contract/agreement with your current provider, one of the things you need to do is thoroughly read through your new contract and all of the terms and conditions.

Common Contract Terms and Conditions

Every electricity supplier is different, meaning every contract is different. However, most agreements contain similar terms and conditions.  Typically every contract for new electric service (or renewals) will include information on the following information:

? Basic information on the supplier, including contact information
? The price structure, or whether the plan has a fixed rate or variable rate
? The price per kWh (kilowatt hour)
? A statement regarding savings
? Deposit requirements
? Monthly fees for servicing the customer account
? Specials, incentives on introductory prices, or discounts covering the first billing cycles
? Price caps on variable rate pricing
? The length of the contract including contract start date
? Renewal terms
? Cancellation fees that charge for early termination

Remember, once you sign your contract, both you and the supplier are required by law to follow all of the aforementioned terms and conditions put forth in your contract.

Changes to Your Electric Service Mid-Contract

Many electric consumers will go through the entire length of their contract without experiencing any changes to the terms and agreements they signed up for. However, for those who signed up for a variable rate contract, there may be times when your supplier sends you a notice regarding changes in your kWh price.

Some suppliers notify their customers of variable rate changes every time they occur, but the law requires that the company provides the customer with the price at least during the first billing cycle. This is the most common type of change that will occur in a contract. However, in the rare occurrence of other changes in service, the electricity supplier will notify their customers immediately with both an Initial Notice and an Options Notice.

When a contract term?s change, the customer will have at least 45 days to be prepared for a change as well as the ability to opt-out of their contract and switch suppliers if they do not agree to the new contract terms.

Expiration Dates on Electricity Contracts

Every contract has an expiration date. When the end of your contract is approaching, you will be receiving two separate notices from that supplier, either electronically or by mail. These notices will let you know that your contract is ending.

Typically the first notice comes between 45 and 60 days before your contract is about to expire.

The second notice, also known as an Options Notice will come at least 30 days before the contract is about to expire. Your Options Notice will typically only arrive through first class mail. This notice will inform you of the different options you have regarding your electricity contract. In this notice you will see information on staying with your current supplier and ?renewing? your contract, ending your contract and switching to another supplier or simply returning your electric service back over to your local utility.

You typically have around 30 days to make a decision and to take the appropriate steps to continue with your preferred type of electric service. Most companies will roll your plan over to a month-to-month option if you do not respond.

Cancellation Fees on Electricity Contracts

There may come a time when you want to cancel your electric contract, before the date outlined in your agreement.

If you want to cancel your contract early, you may have topay an early cancellation fee. This fee will be detailed in the original contract. The contract will also state the exact date when the customer can switch to another supplier or return to their utility?s default service.

Some suppliers allow their customers to avoid the termination fee if they apply for early cancellation with enough notice. It is always important to understand the fine print regarding the cancellation process with a supplier, as every company is different and some cancellation fees can come with a hefty price tag.