TXU has been throwing around the term “free energy” a lot lately. Apparently the idea of getting your electricity for free is enticing. Their latest attempt at reeling in customers is offering “Free Nights” or “Free Weekends” plans. In these plans you are not be charged for using electricity either during nights or during Saturday through Sunday. But what actual savings, if any, do these plans offer. Let’s look at the simple math.
We pulled the details on the TXU Energy Free Nights 18 plan and the TXU Energy Free Weekends 18 plan for the Texas zip code of 75040. The first thing we noticed is that each plan requires an 18-month contract with a $275 early cancelation fee.
TXU Free Nights
The TXU Free Nights plan, electricity use is free from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. (eight hours) every night. But key factor to look at, as with any energy plan, is the energy charge rate and the average rate per kilowatt hour (kWh).
Listed in the Energy Facts Label is an energy charge of a whopping 17.1 cents per kWh for “mornings and evenings.” Essentially this is the time not included during the free nights. Then we looked at the average price when you factor in the 17.1 rate and the free nights. That still came out to be 13.4 cents per kWh based on an average monthly usage of 1,000 kWh, which is closest to average for most people over the course of an 18-month plan.
TXU Free Weekends
We found about the exact same numbers for the TXU Energy Free Weekends 18 plan. Electricity usage is free every Saturday and Sunday but you are hit with an energy charge rate of 17.7 kWh Monday through Friday. Just like the Free Nights plan, this comes out to an average rate of 13.4 cents per kWh based on 1,000 kWh usage per month.
So, do either of these plans offer any real, practical savings for the average person, or is TXU just using a marketing ploy and moving money around? Let’s compare the 13.4 average rate of these two plans to the average rate of Ambit Energy’s regular 12-month plan. Using the same zip code as above, Ambit’s Lone Star Select – 12 Month Term Plan with e-plan automatic billing has an average rate of 9.4 cents per kWh based on the same 1,000 kWh monthly usage. This is a full 4 cents cheaper than TXU’s Free Nights and Free Weekends plans even with the free electricity periods factored in. That’s 30 percent cheaper. That can be a significant savings when using more than 1,000 kWh. For example, if you were to use 1,500 kWh in a month, a difference of 4 cents would mean a savings of about $60.
It’s pretty clear that TXU is not offering legitimate savings or lower rates with these plans. The rates in your area might differ a bit but overall the numbers will stay virtually the same. Ambit offers real, significant savings with no gimmicks of misleading rate quotes. And if you want to talk about actual free energy, Ambit even has a Free Energy Program. Simply refer and maintain 15 active customers and Ambit takes the average of their bills and applies that average as a credit to your monthly bill, month after month after month.