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Everything you need to know about energy cancellation fees

So you want to switch energy suppliers to get a better rate but you’re still in contract with your current supplier… what can you do? Here’s everything you need to know about energy cancellation fees, also known as “early exit fees”.

Though there are certainly benefits to long-term contracts, they also have their fair share of drawbacks, the chief among which, of course, is duration. There are few things more annoying for example, than seeing a great deal from another supplier advertised and not being able to jump ship because of a long remainder left in the agreed term with your current supplier. It’s worst still when your provider, whether it be for energy, broadband, phone etc. isn’t living up to their promised standards and it feels like there’s nothing you can do about it. Or is there?  

In this article, we look at how to avoid cancellation fees and which supplier charges what. Let’s get to it!

How to avoid cancellation fees

It should almost go without saying, but as with contracts of any kind, to avoid energy contract cancellation fees all you have to do is wait until you’re out of your initial contract term with the supplier and then you’ll be able to switch suppliers without worry of being penalised.

In general, the minimum contract period of energy suppliers for electricity, gas or dual fuel plans is 12 months, although some suppliers do offer 24 month long contracts. 24 months is a long commitment, so always make sure you are fully aware of time commitments when signing up to a new supplier!

If I do want to end my contract early, how much can I expect to be penalised?

When we hear the terms “cancellation fee” or “early exit fee” the automatic perception is that the fee will be astronomically high to act as a strong deterrent for early exit out of a contract. This can be true for many services such as broadband where customers have been known to have to pay for the remaining months left in their contract as well as an early exit fee on top of that. Thankfully, when it comes to energy suppliers, the fees aren’t nearly so drastic! You can expect to pay around €50 in early termination fees (though there are exceptions dependent on the supplier) with Irish energy suppliers.

It's also worth noting that unlike other types of service providers such as broadband and phone providers, generally with energy suppliers, customers will not be able to leave their contracts early without incurring penalties in the event of a price increase.

With many services, when a price increase is announced, customers in contract are informed that if they are not satisfied with the changes to their contract, they are free to switch without penalty, so long as they switch within a 30 day period. This is not the case with energy suppliers because in the majority of cases, customers sign up to a discounted rate, meaning that their contract is with the discount rather than the standard rate. For example, a supplier with a 30% discount could increase its standard prices but the customer would not be eligible to leave their contract because they would still be getting a 30% discount - that hasn't changed - they're just getting a 30% discount off a higher standard unit price. 

The notable exception to this rule is Just Energy who offer their customers a fixed rate. This means that if and when the supplier increases its standard prices, customers already in a fixed rate contract will not be affected. 

How much can I expect to be charged with each energy company in early exit fees?

Early termination charges will vary from supplier to supplier.  You can find out what each supplier charges in the table below*:

SUPPLIER

EARLY EXIT CHARGE

Energia

€50

Bord Gáis Energy

€50

Electric Ireland

€50

Just Energy

€50

SSE Airtricity

€50

Pinergy

€11.25 per month for the remaining months of the contract

PrepayPower

Meter removal fee + Daily standing charge to end of full contract + Meter replacement charge and Keypad replacement charge, fully refundable on recovery of meter and keypad.

Flogas

€50

BEenergy

€100

Panda Power

€50

*Note that these fees often double in the case of dual fuel cancellation.

It is also worth noting that there are circumstances in which some suppliers waive cancellation fees. For example, in the case of moving homes, you may not be liable to pay early exit fees.

Be savvy about when you switch

Of course, we all want to avoid paying any unnecessary penalties and fees where possible, but it’s nice to know just how much those penalties are for cases where it’s unavoidable for whatever reason.

Special discounted introductory rates from suppliers usually expire at the end of the minimum contract period, after which point the rates revert to their more expensive standard tariffs. The great news is you can avoid those higher fees by switching suppliers! If you set a reminder for yourself to switch suppliers every year using bonkers.ie on the same date, you can ensure that you’re always on the best rate and avoid early exit fees altogether because you’ll always know when you’re out of contract and eligible to switch without penalties.

Ready to switch now?

Switching suppliers is the quickest and easiest way to save money on your energy bills if you’re out of contract with your current supplier. Last year only 14% of Irish households switched energy suppliers, meaning that a huge 86% of households missed out on hundreds of euros worth of savings.

If you're currently out of contract you could make an average saving of €324 by switching gas and electricity today using bonkers.ie.


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