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Weekly switches are up 70%
May is a very popular time to switch electric companies

Posted by Shane McLaughlin on 05/22/2013 at 3:06 PM

We've been seeing a lot more switches coming in to TrueCost, so we wanted to know why. It turns out that May is a popular time to switch electric companies.

For the purpose of this post, we're going define a "switch" as someone staying in the same location and switching from one provider to another. That's how ERCOT tracks its data. Move-ins are counted separately, and people changing contracts with the same provider they had before aren't counted.

Here's some quick stats for context: 
  • On average, 16,700 Texans switch per week (for the last 2 years)
  • The weekly peak for that period was hit during January 2012 with more than 35,000 switches
  • Switch activity can be as low as 8,000, which typically happens around the end of the year
Looking at the chart below, about 25,000 of you switched companies during each of the last few weeks.  The average of the previous 3 weeks was under 15,000.

ERCOT switch May 2013
 
For added fun, we charted the previous year's weekly switches to see the pattern. A similar trend happened the previous May.

So there are two possible conclusions:
  • People think May is a great time to switch companies.
  • A lot of people switched in May 2012 and signed up for one-year plans that just came up for renewal, and they didn't want to stay with who they picked last time.
The first option (everybody likes to switch in May) didn't line up with 2011 data, which showed a very normal 14,000 weekly switches. And I could imagine the warmer May weather getting people to think about their electric bills, except that this has been one of the nicest springs I can remember.

The trend also doesn't seem to be price-driven. Our one-year fixed-rate Electric Price Index for Houston is about 10% higher than last year at this time, but it stayed within a few dollars of where it began 2013. 

So if you signed a contract last May, be sure you don't let it roll over. Sign up for a TrueCost account if you don't already have one and let us help you find your next plan.

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