The Reliant Truly Free Weekends 12 Plan is one of a growing number of Time-of-Use (TOU) plans being offered by Texas electric companies.
Time of use plans offer an incentive to theoretically save people money on their electric bills by allowing customers to pay different prices for their electricity during different times of day when demand changes. They can be complicated when customers try to figure out when they should use electricity and when they should not.
Electricity prices change based on demand, so it can be more expensive to use electricity during peak times like hot summer days when everyone uses their A/C than other times like evenings or weekends. The idea behind these plans is that customers will use less energy during the times of high demand.
Some customers are not happy with their Time of Use electricity plans because they cannot control when their electricity is used as easily as they would like. Others complain that they do not save money with these plans and that it is more work for them to track.
Will the Reliant Truly Free Weekends 12 Plan save you money on your electric bill?
As of the time of this review, this plan advertises an average rate of 15.5 cents per kWh for a home that uses 2000 kWh in the Houston area. This is about twice the rate being advertised by other companies such as Gexa Energy, Frontier Utilities, and 4Change Energy.
The other thing to keep in mind is that this advertised rate is just an estimate of what your rate might be. Really, it’s more like a guess. That’s because the actual rate you will pay is highly dependent on your habits and when you use your power most.
As the name implies, the rate you pay for electricity over the weekend is zero. The plan defines the weekend as 8 p.m. Friday to 12 a.m. Monday. The plan features an energy charge of 17.905¢ per kWh for the non-free hours. In addition to that, there is a Centerpoint delivery charge of 4.6397¢ per kWh. Added together, that comes to an eye-popping rate of over 22.5 ¢ per kWh. You would be hard pressed to find a plan anywhere that charges a higher rate than that.
To arrive at the lower estimated rate of 15.5 ¢ per kWh (for 2000 kWh of usage), Reliant estimates that 32% of your energy usage will occur on the weekends. If you are the type that likes a challenge you might be able to get a lower rate than this. Are you willing to do all your laundry on the weekend? Let the dishes pile up in the sink and run the dishwasher only on the weekend?
The problem with this approach is that only so much of your electricity usage can be shifted to another time. Reliant’s customers live in Texas. And in Texas, the largest electricity expense for most people is air conditioning. When it’s August and its 100 degrees, you aren’t going to want to wait until Friday night to turn on your A/C.
Other plan details
The contract term on this plan is 12 months. If you choose to cancel the plan early, there is a $150 cancelation fee.
There is a fixed monthly CenterPoint Energy Delivery charge of $4.39. This charge is the same for every customer in the CenterPoint delivery area. Some providers choose to pass this cost straight through while others such as the Flash Bundled 12 plan by Express Energy, bundle that extra cost into the electricity rate associated with the plan.
The plan uses 15% renewable energy. Although, you have the option to request that 100% solar energy be used for the plan at no additional cost.