Some News on Switch-Holds

There’s been some news this week on Switch-Holds that I figure I would share with everyone. Switch-Holds have created a little bit of controversy in the Texas electricity market over the past year. For the people who aren’t aware of what a switch-hold is, let me give a brief summary below.

Switch-Holds are basically a response to customers who didn’t pay their bills to their Retail Electricity Provider (REP) and switched over to another electricity provider. Switch-Holds basically prevent customers from skipping out on owed bills by locking down an electricity meter and forcing customers at a resident to get on a payment plan and pay off their bills. People might not think about it, but this has actually been a fairly sizable problem in the market.

The problem is that Switch-Holds themselves have hardly been a flawless solution. Some REPs have made mistakes in their own billing and tracking issues that caused problems with customers getting off of switch-holds. There’s also been criticism that switch-holds unfairly target lower income or underprivileged families.

In regards to those complaints, the latest reporting shows that switch-holds are currently holding at or less than 1% of all residential customers in each of the respective 5 TDSP areas in Texas. Which is good news, since on the surface it (hopefully) means that people are paying their bills and the number of people sitting at 1% indicates that not too many people are being subject to swich-holds.

A much bigger complaint about switch-holds was the fact that the “lock” so to speak, is placed on a specific residence’s meter. But what happens if a switch-hold is placed on a property and the people who owe the debt have just picked up stakes and moved on to another place? It makes it difficult for people to move into a residence if there’s a lock on the meter. According to this news, that process is now going to change for the better, by all appearances. In short, the new process eliminates the need for an affidavit when removing a switch hold from a vacant CSA premise.

So, I have to assume that whenever someone doesn’t need an affidavit to get electricity in Texas, that is a good thing.

9 thoughts on “Some News on Switch-Holds

  1. This doesn’t help much. From my experience the people suffering these are in apartment complexes without CSAs. CSA’s are typically for premium, A or B class properties. It’s rare a property manager for a C or below property has a CSA in place. I would estimate this is less than 30% of the transactions being blocked. Switch holds are very onerous and go against the point of Smart Meters enabling seamless, automatic, i.e. not requiring human intervention, activations.

  2. Ant advice for those that had a switch hold and payed the deferred amount yet the electric company won’t remove the switch hold? I have put in the request several times and have been assured it will be removed each time with no result.

  3. Switch hold placed on account over a year ago and balance was paid, yet they refuse to remove switch hold still to this day. The company is TriEagle Energy. Hate their customer service and PUC hasn’t been able to do anything in regards to this matter. Switch holds should be illegal.

  4. I was put on a switch hold after being put on a payment arrangement. My payment arrangement defaulted and i had to pay the bill in full. Yet they still have a switch hold on my account and will NOT remove it. I have called numerous times to no avail. This is with Stream energy. It’s very frustrating because I want to move my provider. I would like a company that has someone there that at least speaks English. However, I can not get any results from them and Oncor said there is nothing they can do. Is there any one else I contact and report Stream to? This should be illegal!

    • either you will have to pay the bill or you wont be able to switch company rather you move or not cause its in your name it will follow

  5. I just received a letter notifying us that a request has been sent to my TDSP for the removal of my Switchhold….NEVER even knew i had this and had no effect that i know of on myservice.

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