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What happens if my provider goes out of business?

Written by Lisa Iscrupe

Edited by Hannah Hillson

Last updated 05/20/2022

MoMo Productions/DigitalVision/Getty images

If your electric provider goes out of business, you will not lose power to your home. Instead, The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has a safeguard in place called the Provider of Last Resort, or POLR. In the event your current energy provider cannot provide service, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) will automatically switch you to another provider. The POLR keeps customers connected to the grid when a retail electric provider (REP) stops providing service. However, the POLR is not meant to be a substitute for a long-term provider switch. It is a stop-gap measure to make sure Texas electricity customers do not go without power if their REP is no longer providing service to their area. 

The following are frequently asked questions you might have if your electricity company stops providing service:

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Will I be without power if my provider leaves the state?

No. The PUCT will switch you to another provider, called the Provider of Last Resort, or POLR. You will be notified of the upcoming switch by mail, email, or phone from both the PUCT and your current electricity provider. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date with your provider to make sure you receive notices in a timely manner.

What happens when I get switched to a POLR?

  • You will be notified in advance that your current provider will no longer be offering service. 
  • Your service will automatically switch to the POLR at the new rate on the date specified in your communications. 
  • You have 60 days to switch to another plan (either with the POLR or another provider) without penalty

Will my rates change?

Yes. Your rate will likely increase due to the extra demand on the new provider from acquiring new customers. We recommend shopping for a new electricity rate as soon as possible, either with the POLR or another electricity provider in your area in order to avoid additional expenses. Use the SaveOnEnergy marketplace to search for a new provider with cheaper rates.

What should I do if my electricity rate goes up?

Switching to a new plan is the quickest way to reduce your energy bill. Typically, electricity rates are cheaper in the spring and fall. However, if your provider goes out of business during another time of year, it is still in your interest to shop for a new plan immediately. The POLR may charge a more expensive price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) than other providers. Additionally, the POLR that you are assigned to may require a deposit within the first month of service. Switching to a new plan with your POLR or with an entirely new provider may save you these additional expenses. You can also try no-deposit or prepaid plans if you are concerned about paying a deposit.

What happens to my deposit from my previous electricity provider?

If you paid a deposit to start service with your old provider, your former provider must return any unused portion.

Who is my Provider of Last Resort (POLR)?

Your POLR is determined by your utility. Currently, utility customers in Oncor, AEP Texas Central, AEP Texas North, and TNMP areas would use TXU Energy as the POLR. Utility customers in CenterPoint region would use Reliant Energy. The POLR is assigned by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) and is subject to change.

Will I face a penalty for switching from the POLR plan?

No, as long as you switch within the first 60 days.

How do I switch to a new electricity provider?

Call today to speak with a SaveOnEnergy.com® expert to find rates available in your area. Our energy experts can also help you learn about rates, brands, terms, and plan types to find the best one for you. 

Another way to switch to a new plan is to enter your ZIP code at the SaveOnEnergy marketplace. Once you provide your ZIP code, you will see a list of recommended plans in your area from top trusted providers. Below that, you can view all the plans in your area, listed from the lowest rate available. 

Use the filters on the side of the page to narrow down your search for specific features. You can filter by term length, plan type (fixed or variable-rate), or brand-specific. Each plan lists all the fine print, including the TDU charges, usage credits, and any early termination fees (ETFs). Find this information in the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) for each plan. 

The best part is our displayed rate shows the average rate at 1000 kWh, with TDU charges and fees already included, so you can get a good idea of your energy bill. Your actual bill will vary depending on how much energy you use per month. 

 

If you’ve been switched to a provider of last resort, enter your ZIP code at SaveOnEnergy to see what else is available.

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