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But this system depends on customers' ability to quickly and reliably switch electricity providers. That includes making the original jump from the utility companies, as well as between retail electricity providers themselves.
The more difficult this process becomes and the longer it takes, the less incentive companies have to be responsive to changing prices in the energy market.
The Austrian Independent reports Austria has seen some substantial problems with electricity suppliers not taking advantage of low electricity prices to try to entice customers. Part of this Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner noted is the fact that it still takes three weeks to switch electricity suppliers.
Comparatively, in Pennsylvania it can take anywhere from three to eight weeks for customers to successfully change electricity providers, according to PAPowerSwitch.com. The State has seen surging interest in competition since the electricity rate caps ended last year, but the state could potentially gain by reducing the waiting time. Other states like Texas have nowhere near the delay, and that state has seen the majority of its residents make the switch.