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1) Check Your Contract Status: Before you switch, you’ll need to determine whether or not you’re bound by a contract with your current provider, and if so, how long you have left to fulfill the term and the cost and/or penalties of early cancellation (if any). You can usually find this information on your bill or by calling your energy provider. According to the Cheapest Electricity Rates, customers can switch providers without facing an early termination fee if they schedule the switch no earlier than 14 days before their current plan expires (for most fixed-rate plans). Most variable-rate plans (month to month) don’t charge early termination fees, so customers on those plans can switch at any time. You should receive a letter in the mail at least 30 days before your contract expires.