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TXU Ultimate Summer Pass 12 – What You Need To Know

The Ultimate Summer Pass 12 is TXU’s latest Time-of-Use (TOU) plan. TXU has a long history of popular TOU plans.  It’s been almost a decade since they released the TXU Free Nights plan which later became the Free Nights and Solar Days plan. Since then, many electricity providers have offered similar plans.

The Ultimate Summer Pass 12 plan includes two different time-of-use elements.

50% off electricity during the summer

You will receive a 50% discount from the TXU energy charge during the summer months.  This plan defines the summer months as being between June 1st and September 30th.  Note that this discount applies only to the Energy Charge portion of your bill.  It does not apply to the TDU charges that TXU collects on behalf of your local delivery utility.  If you live in the Dallas or Fort Worth area this is a fee that goes to Oncor.  Currently this rate is 3.89¢/kWh.

Free Hottest Days

In addition to the 50% discount during summer months, you will pay an Energy Charge of 0¢/KWh on the three hottest days each month from June to September .    This is not exactly free electricity because the TDU pass thru charges still apply.

TXU will use designated local weather stations to determine which days near you are the hottest.  If there is a tie, your highest usage days among those hottest days will used for your free days.

What else you need to know about the TXU Ultimate Summer Pass 12 Plan

Your bill will consist of 3 elements.

Energy charge – This represents the biggest part of your electric bill and is the portion of the bill that is eligible for the 50% off and free days.  The Energy Charge is based on the TDU area you live in.  See the table below for Energy Charges by area.  These rates are current as of the rollout of the plan.  But electricity rates in Texas change often.  So always review current rates and the current electricity facts label (EFL) before you enroll in this or any plan.

TDUEnergy Charge
Centerpoint16.1¢/kWh
Oncor14.3¢/kWh
AEP North14.4¢/kWh
AEP South14.4¢/kWh

Base Charge – This is a flat $9.95 monthly charge regardless of how much power you use.

TDU delivery charges – Any plan from any electric company in Texas has TDU charges included.  Sometimes they are bundled with the energy charge.  But usually, they are broken out separately.

So what is the electricity rate on the TXU Ultimate Summer Pass 12 plan?

TXU Ultimate Summer Pass 12 Terms

For the rollout, TXU is advertising a rate of 16.9¢/kWh for 1000 kWh of usage in the Oncor (DFW) area.  When you add the per kWh charges together you get a total of 20.8¢/kWh for your non-summer days.

During the summer months, this rate drops to 11.05¢/Kwh.  On the three hottest days the rate is equal to the TDU charge of 3.89¢/kWh

TXU has done the math to arrive at an average rate of 16.9¢/kWh over the length of your contract.

Cancellation Fee

The plan has a cancelation fee of $150.00 if you leave before the 12 month term.

AT&T 3G Decommissioning to Cause Problems for Texas Electric Utility

AT&T communication technology upgrades will cost parts of Texas the ability to have time-of-use (Free Nights and Weekends) plans.

AT&T has announced that it plans to decommission it’s 3G communications technology in February 2022.  That means any infrastructure that isn’t compatible with the newer 4G technology will no longer work.  TNMP, the utility who is responsible for maintaining infrastructure in the parts of Texas where it delivers power, will not be able to complete the conversion of their smart meter network to the 4G mesh network technology required going forward.

Free nights and weekends electricity plans and other similar time-of-use plans have become very popular in Texas.  These plans rely on smart meters which rely on telecom networks to communicate information back to the utility companies.

TNMP, the regional utility that delivers electricity to parts of the Texas deregulated market, has announced that it will temporarily not be able to support the functionality that time of use plans rely on. It hasn’t completed the necessary upgrades to be able to work with the 4G network.

The other Texas TDUs (Oncor, CenterPoint, AEP) have already completed necessary upgrades and will not be affected by the changes being made by AT&T.  However, TNMP is now stating that they will not be ready when AT&T pulls the plug on the old 3G network.  They are blaming Covid and global supply change issues with for their failure to meet the deadline.

This has some electricity providers scrambling to remove time-of-use plans which require communication of not only total usage but what time of day or day of the week the electricity was used.

TNMP is the smallest Teas TDU but the still provide power to over 260,000 homes and businesses, including the cities of Lewisville, Graham, and Glen Rose.

What is the Cheapest Gexa Energy Electricity Plan?

There are four different Gexa Energy plans that each make sense for different home sizes.

Best Gexa Energy plan for a small home – Gexa Saver Deluxe 12

The Gexa Saver Deluxe 12 plan is the best deal for homes that use around 1000 kWh of electricity per month.  The average electricity rate for this plan is 8.2¢ per kWh.  This plan is cheapest at exactly the 1000 kWh level.

Cheapest Gexa Energy Plan for small homes

Note: All rates discussed in this review are current as of the time of writing.  They apply to the Centerpoint delivery area which includes Houston and surrounding areas.  Texas electricity rates change daily.  To see today’s rates for Gexa and other electric companies near you enter your zip code above.

The Gexa Saver Deluxe 12 plan is a “bill credit” plan.  Bill credit plans offer credits on your energy bill of various amounts depending on how much power you use.  This allows electricity providers to target plans to specific sized customers.   In the case of the Gexa Saver Deluxe 12 plan, there is a credit of $100 that applies once you surpass 1000 kWh of electricity for a billing cycle.

Electricity Facts Label for Gexa Saver Deluxe 12 Plan
** Enter zip code above for current rates

It is important to note that the credit disappears at the 2000 kWh level.  This makes the plan the best Gexa plan for those who use slightly over 1000 kWh.  But it isn’t ideal for larger homes. The plan comes with an energy charge of 13.17¢ per kWh plus a TDU Delivery Charge of 4.6397¢.  Added together that comes to 17.8¢.

The $100 bill credit is what allows the average rate to drop to 8.2¢ at exactly 1000 kWh.  As soon has your usage hits 2000 kWh the bill credit disappears causing your average rate to jump.  That means this plan isn’t the best one Gexa offers for larger homes.

Best Gexa Energy Plan for larger homes – Gexa Superb Saver 12

The best Gexa plan for larger homes is a similar plan with different threshold levels for the bill credits.  It is designed to benefit those who use more than 1500 kWh per billing cycle but less than 2500 kWh.

The Gexa Superb Saver 12 plan has the following structure. (Check our electricity rate listings for up to date pricing.)

  • $50 bill credit for usage levels between 1500 kWh and 1999 kWh

  • $100 bill credit for usage levels between 2000 kWh and 2500 kWh

  • No bill credit below 1500 kWh or above 2000 kWh

  • The energy charge is 9.05¢ (plus the standard TDU delivery charge of 4.6397¢)

  • There is a fixed monthly fee of $35 per month (plus the standard fixed TDU delivery charge of $4.39)

Electricity Facts Label for Gexa Superb Saver 12 Plan

As you can see, this plan is more complicated than the first plan.  There are a lot of components to the pricing but the end result is an average electricity rate of 10.7¢ at 2000 kWh.  This makes the Gexa Superb Saver 12 the lowest rate Gexa plan for larger homes as long as they don’t use more than 2500 kWh.

Best Gexa Energy Plan for 3000 kWh and above – Gexa Energy Saver 36 with Free Emerson Sensi Touch smart thermostats

The Gexa Energy Saver 36 plan is an option for customers who live in larger homes who use a lot of electricity.  Gexa doesn’t publish average electricity rates for 3000 kWh but a little math tells us that the this plan is Gexa’s best deal for people who use 3000 kWh and above.

Electricity Facts Label for Gexa Energy Saver 36 Plan

This plan doesn’t come with any usage credits.   This means there are no pricing cliffs or sudden price spikes depending on where your usage falls in a given month. The plan has the lowest energy charge of all the Gexa plans.  Currently it is 8.86¢ per kWh (plus TDU charges).  The result is a plan whose pricing remains consistent.

Customers who enroll in this 36 month plan receive up to 2 smart thermostats with installation included.  This is a $550 value according to Gexa.  Smart thermostats provide the added benefit of making your homes energy usage more efficient.  This results in lower overall utility bills.

Best Gexa Energy Plan for an apartment – Gexa Saver Value 12

The Gexa Saver Value 12 plan is the ideal Gexa plan for people who live in apartments or people who use between 500 kWh and 1000 kWh.  The energy charge is high compared to some of the other Gexa plans.  But the bill credits are targeted to benefit those who use electricity.  There is a $35 credit between 500-1000kWh and a $50 credit between 1000-1500 kWh.

Electricity Facts Label for Gexa Saver Value 12 Plan

What is The Difference Between Electric Companies, REPs, and TDUs?

Are you confused about the different kinds of electric companies? Unsure of the difference between your retail electric provider (REP) and your transmission and distribution utility (TDU) company? If so, you are not alone. It’s safe to say most electricity consumers do not understand the different kinds of electric companies. After all, there is only one energy company’s name listed on your monthly electric bill. But is that the name of your electricity provider? Or maybe it’s the name of the company that generated the electricity you are using?

Electric Companies

“Electric company” has become the catch-all term for the company that sends you your monthly electric bill. In a perfect world, we could always use that term and there would be no confusion.

Unfortunately, the type of electric company that sends out the bills depends on where you live. In Albany, New York, the TDU sends out the monthly bills. But in Dallas, Texas, it is the REP that sends the bills.

Texas Retail Electric Providers

In Texas, your monthly electricity bill is sent out by your retail electric provider. On your bill, you will see the fees charged by the REP listed as the “Energy Charge.”

When you use our site to find a cheap electricity rate, you are comparing the offers of many different retail electricity providers. Once you decide on an REP, that will be the electric company that actually buys your electricity from the state’s electric grid.

Although you’ve never seen a TV commercial for a TDU, the retail electric providers are actively advertising their electricity plans. Commercials for TXU and Reliant Energy are on all the time, and now even Cirro and Direct Energy are starting to get in on the action.

The term “Retail Electric Provider” is interchangeable with “Energy Company,” “Power Company,” and even “Light Company.”

Texas Transmission and Distribution Utility Companies

Also known as Transmission and Distribution Utilities (TDUs) are the companies that deliver the electricity to your home or business. Your TDU owns and maintains your electric meter. It also owns and operates all of the local power lines and substations the electricity passes through on the way to your meter.

Although you can choose which electricity provider you use, you have no choice in the matter of which TDU delivers the electricity to your meter.

For the deregulated parts of the state, there are 4 main TDU companies.

  • AEP Texas (Central and North)
  • CenterPoint Energy
  • Oncor
  • Texas / New Mexico Power Company

If you are interested in knowing which electric company delivers the electricity to your home, simply take a look at your electric meter. You will see the name and logo of the TDU right on the face of the meter. Generally speaking, the TDUs tend to cover specific regions Texas. Oncor distributes the electricity to the North and Central Texas regions, including delivering the Dallas electricity, as well as the Waco electricity. CenterPoint delivers the Houston electricity. AEP (Central) handles the South Texas region, which includes the Brownsville electricity and Rio Grande Valley electricity.

Case Study #1: Houston Electric Companies

The Transmission and Distribution Utility company for all of Houston is CenterPoint Energy. They have a complete monopoly over the entire city because they own every meter and all of the power lines there. Thus, you do not have the power to choose which TDU delivers the electricity to you.

You do, however, have the power to choose your retail electric provider.

Say, for example, you found that Gexa Energy had the cheapest electricity plan that matched your situation. You can lock in that great rate for a year, so Gexa will be the company you pay every month for electricity.

Interesting Fact: Before Texas deregulated its electricity market, Reliant was the only REP in Houston.

Case Study #2: Dallas Electric Companies

In Dallas, the TDU for the city is Oncor Electric. Oncor owns all of the infrastructure in the city, so they have a lock on the distribution of electricity within the city.

Luckily, you can choose between dozens of electricity plans from many different REPs in Dallas. If you find a cheap electric plan from 4Change Energy Company and you like their philanthropic philosophy, you can choose to do business with them. Each month, you will pay them for your electricity. 4Change will then pay Oncor for the charges associated with your meter.

Interesting Fact: Before the electricity market became deregulated in Texas, TXU Energy was the sole REP in Dallas.

Who Do I Call If There Is an Electricity Outage?

If the electricity goes out at your home or business, it is up the TDU to resolve the issue. After all, they own and maintain the power lines and transformers. Luckily, every electricity meter in Texas is now a “smart” meter. These smart meters use cellular services to communicate in real-time with the TDUs. This means the TDUs are constantly monitoring every meter, and they can immediately take steps to resolve any outage situation.

Affordable Electricity is Harder For Renters than Homeowners in Texas

Report Looks at access to Affordable Electricity and Gas

A report issued by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy sheds light on the energy burden of American households; in particular, lower income households.  The report looks at how much of their income households spend on electricity and other energy bills.

The report looks at what percentage of household income is spent on utility bills.  It breaks down various demographics including income, race, and homeownership status.   The report defines a high energy burden as paying more than 6% of income on energy bills.  A severe energy burden is defined as paying more than 10% of household income on energy.  Taken has a whole, over two thirds of low-income American household face either a high or severe energy burden.

Renters have higher energy burden (lower affordability)  than homeowners

The report highlights several demographics as having higher burdens than average.  These include:

  • Low-income households with older adults
  • Native American, Black and Hispanic Households
  • Those living in mobile homes
  • Renters

Nation Energy Burden
Source: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

The report doesn’t seek to explain why renters do worse than homeowners in this metric.  But possible factors that could impact the energy burden of renters include:

  • Income – renters on average have a lower income than homeowners
  • Lack of weatherization and energy efficiency – Since landlords typically aren’t the ones paying electricity bills, they are not incentivized to invest in improvements aimed at lowering utility bills. Renters aren’t likely going to be living in the home long enough to make such investments themselves.
  • Older Homes – Rental properties are more likely to be older homes. The report shows that households living in homes built before 1980 have an above average energy burden

 

Geographical Breakdown: Affordable Texas Energy compared to other areas

The study looked at 25 metro areas.  Two of these areas, Dallas and Houston, are in Texas.  Both Dallas and Houston performed better than the national average in terms of affordability (called energy burden in the study) for low income households.  The percentage of low income households with high or severe energy burdens was 6.7% and 7.1% respectively.  This compares to a national average of 8.1%.

This might be taken as a surprise given that, in general, Texans spend more on electricity than other parts of the country.  Texas electricity rates tend to be lower than other areas.  But a warm client leads to more kilowatt hours of electricity used on average by Texas households. It should also be noted that energy utilities don’t just include electricity.  They include natural gas for heating, cooking etc…  In parts of the country where heating is more of a priority than cooling, gas bills will be higher relative to electricity bills.

 

How higher electricity bills impact households

High electricity bills can impact households in several different ways including:

  • Health and comfort
  • Mental Health
  • Inability to benefit from economic development and get ahead financially

 

The Importance of weatherization in reducing energy costs

The report discusses weatherization as an important way to save money and reduce energy bills. Of course, it also helps the environment by reducing our carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels.

Weatherization refers to the practice of using insulation, caulking, and sealing techniques to reduce energy consumption. This is accomplished by weatherizing your home with various materials that will effectively keep you from having to spend money on utilities throughout the year. In fact, these techniques can reduce household energy consumption by about 30% which means more money for other uses. These changes are fairly simple ones that don’t require any major renovations or structural changes.  The challenge is that the households that could most benefit from such cost reducing measures are also the ones least likely to be able to afford them.

 

What electric companies could do to improve access to low cost affordable electricity

The report doesn’t talk specifically about what electric companies can do to reduce energy burdens.  The focus is more on what can be done at the state, municipal, and community level.  These recommendations include:

  • Set specific goals with regard to energy affordability
  • Identity specific groups effected by energy insecurity and build programs for them
  • Increase funding at all leaves for energy efficiency and weatherization
  • Offer financing options

 

Impact of electricity deposits on energy burden

Though it wasn’t specifically addressed in the report, it is worth mentioning another factor other than electricity bills that can add to the energy burden of low income Texas households.  This is the effect of deposits.  Most electricity providers in Texas will ask for a deposit for new electric service if the applicant doesn’t meet certain credit thresholds or has a limited credit history.   This tends to impact those who are already struggling financially.  This further adds to their energy burden. There are no deposit electricity plans available to people with credit issues.  These tend to be prepaid plans.

To read the full report: Visit Here

 

 

 

What You Need to Know About The TXU Free Pass Plan (Updated 2020)

TXU is the company that popularized Free Nights and other time of day electricity plans in Texas.  Now the electric company that brought you Free Nights and Solar Days has introduced a plan called the TXU Energy Free Pass 12 Plan.

Note: Texas electricity rates change often.  The rates referenced in this review are as of July 2020.  To compare current TXU rates with other electric companies, enter your zip code at the top of this page.

How does the TXU Free Pass Plan work?

The plan is fairly simple.  For each billing period, TXU takes your 7 highest electricity usage days and subtracts those days from your bill.  For those days you are charged a 0¢/kWh energy charge and the typical pass through fees associated with Oncor or your local distribution utility are waived.

What is the KWh charge on the TXU Free Pass plan?

In the Oncor service area which includes, Dallas and Fort Worth, the energy charge is 15.7¢/kWh.  In addition to that, you will pay the Oncor passthrough fee of 3.577¢/kWh.  This brings the total electricity rate to 19.3¢/kWh for the days you pay for.

If you used exactly the same amount of electricity every day of a 30 day billing cycle, your 7 free days would account for 23.3% of your total electricity usage.

TXU publishes an average electricity rate of 13.9¢/kWh for 1000 kWh of usage in the Oncor delivery area.  To arrive at this number, they assume that 33.1% of your electricity usage occurs during your 7 free days.

electricity rate for TXU Free Pass Plan

Every household is different. Its hard to predict exactly what your final average electricity rate would be.

The table below shows TXU’s published 1000 kWh average electricity rate for each delivery area including the 7 free days.  It also includes the energy charge plus TDU pass through charge for the non-free days of the plan.


TXU Free Pass Electricity Rates

City (TDU) 1000 kWh Average Rate Non-Free Day Rate
Dallas (Oncor) 13.9¢/kWh 19.3¢/kWh
Houston (Centerpoint) 14.9¢/kWh 20.9¢/kWh
Lewisville (TNMP) 14.9¢/kWh 19.9¢/kWh
Abiliene (AEPN) 13.9¢/kWh 19.1¢/kWh
Victoria (AEPC) 14.3¢/kWh 19.8¢/kWh

Is the TXU Free Pass plan a good deal?

The challenge for consumers is to shift their electricity usage habits to take advantage of the free periods.  With Free nights or mornings plans, consumers can change when they do their laundry or wash their dishes.  They can change their pool timers or do other things to plan their daily electricity-intensive chores at the right time.

It’s a little more difficult, however, to shift electricity usage to specific days of the month.  Summer is approaching in Texas which means A/Cs are about to be running all day every day.  You can’t just shove all of your air conditioning into 7 days of the month.

For most consumers, this plan would act somewhat like a free weekends plan.  If you work during the week, you should be adjusting your thermostat to use less electricity to cool your home during the days when you are working.  On the weekend, when you are more likely to be home, you probably want to keep the thermostat at a more comfortable temperature.  You’re also more likely to do energy intensive household chores like laundry during the weekend.  This adds together to make the weekends likely your highest electricity usage days.

 

What else do I need to know about the Free Pass plan?

  • The plan comes with a 12 month contract commitment
  • The cancelation fee is $150
  • It has a base charge of $9.95 per month plus a pass through base charge from your TDU of between $3.42 and $10.53 depending on where you live.
  • The plan has a renewable energy content of 6%

See Also: TXU AutoSaver Plan

Filed under: TXU Free Pass Plan Review

What You Need To Know About the TXU AutoSaver Plan

Shopping for a cheap electricity rate in Texas is a tricky business.  Most electricity plans in Texas feature rate formulas rather than actual guaranteed rates.  The TXU AutoSaver plan is no exception.  At the end of the day, your actual electricity rate will depend on several factors; some of which are outside of your control.

Here we outline the details of this new plan and compare it to plans available from Gexa and TriEagle Energy.

The TXU Autosaver plan is advertised as a way to allow consumers to benefit from any drop in natural gas prices while protecting them from rising prices beyond a certain level.

The electricity rate in the TXU Autosaver 12 plan is tied to the price of natural gas.  As the primary source of fuel for electricity in Texas, natural gas drives much of the pricing of electricity. It should be noted that this plan comes at a time when natural gas prices are already near historical lows.  The plan features a price cap feature that puts an upper limit on the electricity rate once natural gas hits a price of $3.50/MMBtu.  At the time of this writing, that is about double the current price of natural gas.

 

Historical Price of Natural Gas

Natural Gas Historical Price Chart

 

What is the electricity rate on the TXU AutoSaver Plan?

The rate customers pay for this plan is based on a complicated formula that includes a “Natural Gas Factor”.  This allows the rate on the plan to fluctuate based on the monthly closing price for natural gas.  The plan also includes a flat monthly charge of $9.95, a Base Rate of 7.4¢ per kWh, and TDU pass through fees.

Here is how that looks:

Base Rate (per kWh) 7.4¢
Base Charge (per Month) $9.95
Natural Gas Charge (per kWh) 1.995¢
Flat Pass-through Delivery Charge $3.42
Pass-through Delivery Charge per kWh 3.5778¢
Total Average Rate (1000 kWh) 14.3¢/kWh

* For this illustration we used the pricing for the Oncor delivery area which includes the Dallas / Fort Worth area.  Different parts of the state have different rates. We will also assume a natural gas price of $1.50/MMBtu

The above data is pull from the plan’s Electricity Facts Label on July 14. 2020

TXU Autosaver EFL

Is the TXU AutoSaver Plan a Good Deal?

The plan does have an upside cap that prevents the Natural Gas Charge from going above 4.655¢.  This puts an upside limit on your effective electricity rate of 17.0¢ per kWh if you use 1000 kWh in a billing cycle.

But let’s consider a mathematically best case scenario where natural gas prices go to zero.  This is not a realistic real world scenario, but it allows us to see the absolute lower bounds of the electricity rate under this plan.

Base Rate (per kWh) 7.4¢
Base Charge (per Month) $9.95
Natural Gas Charge (per kWh)
Flat Pass-through Delivery Charge $3.42
Pass-through Delivery Charge per kWh 3.5778¢
Total Average Rate (1000 kWh) 12.3¢/kWh

Even at a zero cost of natural gas, this plan would still have an all-in electricity rate of 12.3¢ per kWh for the 1000 kWh usage level in the Oncor delivery area.  At the time of this writing, there are plans available with advertised rates below 6.0¢ at 1000 KWh usage in the Oncor delivery area.

To be fair, these plans have their own potential drawbacks.  Many of them rely on usage credits that kick in right around 1000 kWhs of usage to create a best case rate scenario right at 1000 kWh.  If your actual usage falls outside of this range your effective all-in electricity rate could be much higher than the advertised rate.  This is illustrated in the chart below.  You can see that the effective rate for the Gexa Saver Deluxe 12 Plan drops substantially at 1000 kWhs of use but jumps sharply once usage exceeds 2000 kWh.  This is because the usage credit only applies to usages that fall between 1000 and 2000 kWhs.

So how does the TXU AutoSaver plan compare to plans with a simpler structure?

Trieagle Energy, a company known for less complicated rate plans currently has a plan available for 9.7¢ per kWh at the 1000 kWh usage level.  This plan doesn’t rely on usage credits and isn’t indexed to the price of natural gas. This means your actual rate is going to be close to the advertised rate once your bill arrives.

Bottom Line

It’s very easy for a consumer of electricity in Texas to get stuck in the weeds trying figure out what is the cheapest electricity plan for them.  The plans are usually complicated, and the numbers can be overwhelming.  Below we have developed a chart that compares the TXU AutoSaver Plan to plans from Gexa and Triangle.  You can see at a glance what you might expect to pay for electricity based on how much electricity you use.  It also serves as an illustration of just how volatile electricity rates can be even under a single plan.

TXU vs Gexa and Trieagle kWh

This chart shows what your actual bill would be based on the same data.

TXU Gexa Trieagle cost