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What You Need To Know About The Reliant First Month Free Plan

The Reliant First Month Free Plan sounds like a great deal.  After all, we all love free.  But, as with all Texas electricity plans, in order to know if it is really a good deal for you a little math is required.  (Ok, actually, a lot of math is required).

The Details

Here is what you need to know about Reliant’s First Month Free plan.

  • The free month of electricity applies to both Reliant’s energy charge as well as TDSP (also called TDU) charges. Electricity bills in Texas are comprised of several components; including an energy charge from the provider as well as pass through charges from your TDU (Transportation Distribution Utility).  The TDU is responsible for maintaining poles and wires and delivering electricity to your address.  TDU fees are the same regardless of the electricity provider you choose or the plan you choose.
  • The plan comes with a free google home mini. This is a $49 value according to Reliant.
  • The average rate on this plan is higher than other plans offered by Reliant. That, in itself, is not necessarily a deal breaker.  That’s where the math comes in.

 

The Math

Electricity Providers in Texas quote rates for their plans based on 3 standard usage levels.  They are:

  • 500 kWh – a typical average usage for an apartment in Texas
  • 1000 kWh – a typical average usage for a small house in Texas
  • 2000 kWh – a typical average usage for a large house in Texas

For this example, we will assume an average usage rate of 2,000 kHw per month.  However, in Texas, electricity usage by month can vary greatly.  The table below shows about what your monthly usage would be  for each month if your overall average usage is 2,000 kWh.  This is important because some months of free electricity are more valuable than other months.

kWh usage by month

A little more math gives us the actual bill amount for each month.  Below are the charges for the plan in the Oncor delivery area as of 3/1/2018 which is the most recent version as of this writing.  Oncor is the TDU that covers the Dallas and Fort Worth area as well as some other parts of Texas.

First Month Free EFL

When these charges are applied to the kWh hours for each month you come up with the following monthly bills.

First Month Free Cost Per Month

For this analysis we assume the best case scenario which is August as the free month.  When all is said and done, for the 12 month term of the plan, you end up with an average rate of 11.9¢ per kWh over the life of the plan.  Plus, you get the $49 google Home mini.  As of the time of this writing you can sign up for the Reliant Secure Advantage 12 Plan on vaultelectricity.com for the same 11.9¢ per kWh. (Note: Electricity rates update frequently. For up to the minute rates in your area enter your zip code at the top of this page.)

Champion Champ Saver 12 Plan – A Closer Look

The Champion Champ Saver 12 is a very popular plan on Vaultelectricity.com.  The plan not only has a low rate but it has the simplest, most straight forward pricing structure you are likely to find among Texas electricity plans.  This means, unlike many other plans, the customer is likely to realize an average price per kWh (kilowatt hour) very close to the rates Champion publishes at all usage levels.  This is because the plan has no tiers and no credits or fees that kick in at certain usage levels.  The rate at 500 kWh is about the same as the rates for 1,000 kWh and 2,000 kWh.

The pricing of this plan has only 2 components.

  1. Delivery Charge from the TDU
  2. Champion Energy Charges

The first charge is a Pass Through Delivery Charge that all providers charge (although it is not always explicitly listed out in the Electricity Facts Label).  See “What is a TDU?”  below for a more detailed explanation of what a TDU is.  In the Houston area, the Delivery Charge consists of a flat fee per month of $5.47 and an additional 3.8711¢ per kWh.  In other parts of the state these rates are slightly different.

The second part of the pricing is Champion’s per kWh energy charge.  In the Houston area this charge is 5.8¢ per kWh.  (Note: This pricing is as of the time of this writing.  Enter your zip code above to see all plans and up to the minute prices in your area.) This energy charge is the same regardless of how much electricity you use.  This is what sets this plan apart from many other plans which have different energy charges for different levels of usage.  The result is consistent pricing regardless of your usage levels.

Champion Champ Saver 12 EFL

Important:  This example is from 8/6/2018 and is for the Houston area.  Please enter your zip code at the top of the page for current plans and prices in your area.

 

What Will My Actual Bill Be?

Here are some examples of what your bill would be at different usage levels.  All Texas electricity providers list average rates at 3 different usage levels (500 kWh, 1,000 kWh, and 2,000 kWh).  So, we will use those levels for our analysis.

 

What your actual bill would be (Houston Area).

500 kWh – This would be the typical average usage level for an apartment in the Houston area.

1000 kWh – This would be the typical average usage level for a small house in the Houston area.

2000 kWh – This would be the typical average usage level for a large house in the Houston area.

The reason the average price per kWh is different for the different usage levels is because of the $5.47 flat fee pass through Delivery Charge.  That fixed amount effects the average rate more at lower usage levels than the higher usage levels.

The chart below shows how the average rate changes based on how much electricity you actually use.  You can see that at 500 kWh the plan starts off at a fairly good rate but gets progressively cheaper – bottoming out at about 9.9¢/kWh at higher usage levels.

champion ave price chart

What is a TDU?

The Delivery charge is the pass through charge from the TDU (Transmission Distribution Utility). This is the company that actually maintains all the power lines and delivers electricity in your area.  It’s different from the Retail Electricity Provider (REP).  The REP is the electric company that sells you the electricity. In this case Champion Energy is the REP.  In the Houston area the TDU is Centerpoint.  In the Dallas/Fort Worth area the TDU is Oncor.

What else do I need to know?

This plan has a cancelation fee of $150 which is pretty standard for a 12 month contract in Texas.

 

What your actual bill would be (Dallas/Fort Worth Area).

500 kWh – This would be the typical average usage level for an apartment in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

 

1000 kWh – This would be the typical average usage level for a small house in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

2000 kWh – This would be the typical average usage level for a large house in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.