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 Nights and Solar Days plan. Under this plan customers get free electricity from 8:00p.m to 5:00a.m. The idea with the Free Nights and Solar Days plan and similar plans offered by TXU and other electric companies is to shift consumption away from the 3pm to 7pm window that sees the most stress put on the state’s electric grid. This is the most expensive time for electricity providers to procure electricity.
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 TXU charge per kWh during peak hours?
During the non-free hours, as defined by the plan, there is an energy charge of 17.6 cents per kWh* if you live in the ONCOR service area which includes most of Dallas / Fort Worth and other parts of the state. In addition to this there is a TDU passthrough charge.
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 March 31, 2019 establishes an average price per kWh of 14.9 cents. This number makes the assumption that you use a total of 1,000 kWh hours. It also makes the assumption that a certain percentage of your usage falls within the “free nights” window as defined by the plan. Of course, your results may vary. If you can shift more of your usage into evening or night time hours, you could lower your effective rate. A greater percentage of usage during the non-free hours would result in a higher effective rate.
Is TXU free nights worth it?
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 March 31 2019. To see up to the minute electricity rates for this and other plans, enter your zip code above.
What time does free nights start for TXU?
The free portion of the plan covers the hours of 8:00p.m to 5:00a.m.
Where does the solar power come from?
As the name implies, the non-free electricity portion of this plan is based on pricing for solar energy. By choosing this plan, you are paying to support solar power facilities. In reality, if you switch to this plan, your power will be coming from the same grid as before. This grid has electricity from a mix of sources that includes both renewable and non-renewable sources.
Identifying any particular kilowatt of electricity that comes off of the grid as solar would be a little like trying to guess what cows your gallon of milk came from. The power for this plan is considered solar because TXU purchases solar credits from solar farms to equal the amount of power you use during the day.
See Also: TXU Free Pass 12 Plan