TXU was the first major electric provider in Texas to offer time of day pricing to the public with their introduction of the TXU Free Nights program in Texas. The plan was an immediate hit with consumers. The company later created a Free Weekends plan under the banner of TXU Energy Right Time Pricing. By the summer of 2013 the company had enrolled nearly 100,000 customers in free electricity plans.
TXU’s latest time-of-day pricing plan is TXU Energy Free Mornings and Evenings. Under this plan customers get free electricity from 7 to 10a.m and 7 to 10p.m. The idea with the Free Mornings and Evenings plan and its predecessor, Free Nights program is to shift consumption away from the 3pm to 7pm window that sees the most stress put on the state’s electric grid.
Other providers have since introduced similar plans. They all attempt to address a major challenge that the Texas electric grid deals 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.
How much does the plan charge for electricity during peak hours?
During the non-free hours, as defined by the plan, there is a charge of 14.8 cents per kWh* if you live in the ONCOR service area which includes most of Dallas / Fort Worth and other parts of the state.
Predicting what your actual all-in rate will be can be tricky since much depends on not only how much electricity you use but what times of day you use it.
As a guideline, TXU’s Electricity Fact Label (EFL) dated June 3rd 2015 establishes an average price per kWh of 13.9 cents. This number makes the assumption that you use a total of 2,000 kWh hours and that 27.7 percentage of that usage falls within the morning and evening hours of free electricity as defined by the plan. Of course, your results may vary. If you can shift more of your usage into the morning and evening hours, you could lower your effective rate. With a greater percentage of usage during the non-free hours would result in a higher effective rate.
Is this plan right for you?
TXU’s time-of-day plans are best suited for consumers who don’t use a lot of their electricity during hours of peak demand or consumers who are willing to change their habits by shifting power intensive activities such as laundry and dishwashing to the hours designated in the plan as free.
Some recommendations TXU makes for getting the most out of the plan’s free hours:
- Using timers to control the start time of major appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers
- Making use of programmable thermostats
- Charging portable devices during free hours
- Running pool pumps during free hours
TXU also offers tools using your smart meter to help you analyze your electricity usage and identify ways to lower your electric bill by shifting some of your usage to the free electricity times of day.
* Note: The rates mentioned in this piece are as of June 4th 2015.