What You Need To Know About The TXU Free Nights Plan

TXU’s latest electricity rate plan (marketing gimmick) is designed to grab consumer’s attention. But for most people, it’s not likely to be a money saver.

The attention grabbing headline is “TXU offers free nighttime electricity”. But the fine print will reveal that they are doing this by increasing daytime rates to 50% higher than rates offered by many of their competitors.

The day time rates for the TXU nights free plan is 12¢ per kwh for the 12-month contract. At the time of this writing, other electric providers are offering 12-month fixed rate plans for as little as 8¢ per kwh.

Nighttime in this plan is defined as 10PM to 6AM – a time slot where most people are sleeping and not using much electricity to begin with.  In order to even make the plan a break even proposition, most people would have to change their habits considerably.  You could in theory program your dryer to come on at night or run your dishwasher at midnight. People with plug-in electronic cars would almost certainly benefit from the plan. But there aren’t too many of those in Texas.

Although the plan is gimmicky and not really practical for most consumers, it does attempt to address a major challenge that all electrical grids deal with. Capacity within a grid must be sufficient to cover peak demand periods.  In Texas, peak demand is typically during the heat of the day when air-conditioners in homes and businesses are at maximum usage.  Other times, particularly at night, most of that power generation capacity sits unused. This is why wholesale electricity prices plummet at night.  Anything that spreads electricity usage out more reduces strain on the grid.

Ahead of its Time

One can imagine a future where smart appliances are fully integrated with a smart grid, everyone is driving electric cars which are charged during off-peak hours, and A/C units have built in high-efficiency batteries that allow them to store power during off-peak hours and use it during higher demand periods.   The grid and appliances will one day communicate in real-time and my coffee maker would cooperate with your clothes dryer to make more efficient use of electricity grid resources and save us both money. But such a future as a long way off and until then the TXU Free Nights plan is a bad deal for most consumers.

If you are among the rare households that use a large portion of electricity when everyone else is sleeping, or you are committed to changing your habits, then the plan might be right for you. Otherwise you’re probably better off shopping for a better overall rate with another provider.

Texas is fortunate in that there are numerous electricity providers competing for your business.  Instead of paying the incredibly high TXU rates, take a look at rates currently being offered by electric companies such as Bounce, TriEagle and Champion. Not only do these companies offer substantially lower rates, they have better customer service, fewer complaints with the Public Utility Commission and a stronger financial footing than TXU.

 

See also: The Truth About TXU’s Cash Rewards Program

16 thoughts on “What You Need To Know About The TXU Free Nights Plan

  1. TXU are so smart asses!!! Just pick the company with the cheapest rate. It doesn’t matter what company it is. They just administer your account, but Oncor is the one that actually delivers the electricity!!!

  2. We just got our first bill under the free nights program and we would have saved $100 even with the increase in per kilowatt rate. What they don’t tell you is there is
    Something called a TDC cost that in regular plans get rolled into the regular rate. The bundling disappears in the new plan, so they add it to your bill. Ours was $120 added to our bill. False advertising! You do not save money!

    • Jason-

      Thanks for posting! We keep hearing more and more horror stories about TXU’s Free Nights Plan. It’s amazing they are still running the program. Please spread your words of caution!

  3. WITH TXU I ALWAYS PAID MY BILL WITH NO INTERUPTIONS FOR THE LAST 15 MONTHS ,I PAID THIS PAST MONTH ON THE DAY OF WHEN IT WAS DUE ,THE CHECK BY PHONE WAS GIVEN TO THEM BEFORE THE END OF THAT LAST DAY .BUT AS IT DIDNT COME OUT OF MY ACCOUNT TIL NEXT DAY ,NOW THEY WANT A $400 DEPOSITE ..

  4. Eddie-

    Thanks for posting about your bad experience with TXU. It looks like you’re a victim of yet another trick by TXU to squeeze more money from you.

    You might take a look at Trieagle for better rates and no deposit. Actually, just about every electric company has better rates than TXU!

    Good luck!

  5. It will benefit a small sliver of society financially, that being people that get home late at night and are not around during the day. Some people close to this schedule will push more usage to late at night to save a few dollars. The plus side of this plan being voluntary peak load-shedding. The negative side being that if you sign up for the plan, but don’t take advantage of it, you’ll get yourself into trouble.

  6. Signed up last on 06/28/2013. I received my disclosures one week later. They failed to disclose I had to have over 2000 KWs in order to get the 14.4 rate and free nights. Under 2000 KW’s and there is an account fee of $9.95. The total per KW’s is 18.9. The whole thing is gimmick.

  7. Well, I only use air conditioning and heat at night so this would be a saver! My electric bills in the summer are around 60 bucks.

    • That’s what I was thinking when I signed up for the free nights. That I would save big on AC costs. However my first bill was well over 100 dollars more on this plan. Part of my bill says my average charge per KW is 14 but they were actually charging me 19 per KW. Guess I missed that little detail of the plan, quickly switched back to my old plan.

  8. Moved here from OK over 5 years ago and just picked a company because I didn’t know about the difference. TXU was the first company I chose. The first year or 2 my bills were high but I thought that was just the difference from OK to TX. Then when I got out my contract my bills went down so I just left it as is. But in the last 8 months my bills doubled. So I callled to cancel but ended up getting the free nights plan. My bill has been averaging for the months at $170 for the Summer. Just got my first bill on the free night and it was $158 !!!.. so I just saved $20 !!!! Needless to say I just changed to Just Energy ( Amigo ) for .09 per kwh…. We had to all most live like hermits to even save that much which was crazy !!! Maybe if my boyfriend didn’t work from home it would not have been so bad but geesh…. Again I’ll say TX has no sales tax but they will get you somewhere else….. UGGGGHHHHHHH TXU needs to kick rocks and get it together and it seems they are only staying in business de to loyal customers or older people who don’t like change…

  9. I must of been a dummy to be thinking that this was a deal, man did I get the screws big time. I have been with TXU for better than 12 years. I switched to this night plan, and being on average billing all these years I was paying around 170-200 a month. I just got my last month bill for Nov. 2013 and my bill is 298.00. What a rip off I was suckered into. I will attempt to call TXU and see if they are willing to change my contract or I will be switching to someone else.

  10. I have been with TXU for more than 6 years and I have 2 accounts with them. Within the last months I have been so dissapointed in TXU. They don’t want to work with you and I just had to pay a $170.00 deposit and they would not work with me and I have been a loyal customer for more than 6 years!! I’m ready to move to a new electric company.

  11. Same old TXU, I was a loyal customer until 12 years ago, then during a move they tried to screw me over. After several hours of bad customer phone support I dumped them and swore never to use them again. Then I hear hear about the “night and weekends” , “deal” and think, ” hmm maybe the finally changed their tune”. So I do a little digging and find this thread, lol wow I guess a leopard can’t change it’s spots after all, and saved myself the hassle of dealing with them.

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