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.