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

The Reliant Energy 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.)

Texas Electricity Providers Perform Well In Survey

Green Mountain Energy has taken the top spot in the JD Power 2014 Retail Electric Provider Residential Customer Satisfaction Study.  The study, now in its seventh year, surveys electric customers in Texas and several other deregulated electricity states.  Using the data they rank providers on a number of factors and generate an overall score for each company on a 1,000 point scale.

Ranking factors include price, communications, corporate citizenship, enrollment, customer service, and billing/payment.  The results were good news not just for Green Mountain but the Texas electricity market as a whole.   Green Mountain’s overall score of 762 was compared to the state average of 706.  The Texas state average was the highest of any state in the study.

Overall satisfaction of the Texas electricity market continues to improve as this year’s average of 706 was 24 point higher than in 2013.  This trend applies to other states in the survey.  Customer satisfaction across many states improved despite high electricity bills in many parts of the country because of a cold winter.   JD Power attributes the improvement in customer sentiment partly to improved communications.

Green Mountain Energy also points to its improved customer communications as a factor in the company’s top score in this year’s survey.  According to a statement on the company’s website:

“Over the last year, Green Mountain introduced key enhancements to its website, bills, and enrollment process to make it easier for customers to learn about renewable energy and how they’re helping to preserve and protect the environment.”

Champion Energy, who ranked at #1 in the study the past several years, had another strong showing achieving the second highest score of 759.  Green Mountain and Champion were the only two Texas electricity providers to obtain a Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5 from JD Power.

Several providers where given a 4 out of 5 rating including Cirro Energy, StarTex Power, and Bounce Energy.  The most common ranking was a 3 out of 5 which included Direct Energy, Reliant Energy, First Choice Power, and TXU Energy.

See Also: Complaints In Texas Electricity Market Drop Again
See Also: 2013 Survey Results
See Also: 2012 Survey Results