In what is fantastic news for all Texans living in deregulated electricity markets, the PUC has made some sweeping moves to reduce the hassle of customers attempting to switch electricity providers. This is fantastic news, and I can’t stress this enough. In the past, customers attempting to switch to new electricity companies had to hurdle quite a few potential landmines to successfully get safely from their old provider to their new provider. Lets take a quick look at the potential issues below.
First, there is timing. If you were looking to switch your electricity service, you had to time it JUST right, and the only way you could do that was really by getting lucky. Customers were at the mercy of their TDSP (Transmission and Distribution Service Provider, like ONCOR or Centerpoint) in coming by to read their meter. If the TDSP came out a little too early, customers would be subjected to an early cancellation fee for getting out of their contract “too soon,” when it fact the TDSP just cut them off a day or two ahead of their contract. If the TDSP was a bit late, then the customer would be subject to (an often higher) variable rate of electricity on a month to month basis. That’s hardly fair either. And on top of all of that, the TDSP would be charging a nominal fee if they had to read the meter out of a customer’s cycle. So to get electricity service with a new provider without any hiccups or cancellation fees, you pretty much had to cross your fingers, and even then, you’d still be paying an additional charge most of the time.
So what’s changed? Well, for starters, the PUC has declared that no customer can be charged cancellation fees if they cancel within 14 days of their contract’s expiration. That’s a huge deal. On top of that, they’ll no longer be charged any kind of extra fee from the TDSP when they have their meter read to change electricity providers. Basically, the PUC listened to the over 30,000 complaints they received, and they are implementing changes to make it easier for customers to shop and switch electricity providers. This is a huge deal both for the customers, but also in support of the electricity market in specific, as the PUC is making changes that continue to support and improve the deregulated energy market in Texas.