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Cover20By: Darwin Campbell, African-American News&Issues

HOUSTON– A plan offering free electricity after 9 p.m. is saving customers money, but has another valuable key effect – taking pressure off the state’s taxed electrical power grids.

TXU Energy’s “Energy Free Nights” saves energy and reduces monthly bills for customers already on tight budgets and facing another hot Texas summer.

“This concept has caught fire in inner cities, urban and rural areas alike all over Texas,” said TXU spokeswoman Lauren Little. “With hot months and higher energy bills on the way,  this is a program that the elderly, college students and business see as very valuable to their bottom lines.”

TXU Energy was the first retail electricity provider to offer timed-based savings opportunities for residential and business customers in Texas. More than 100,000 Texas consumers have chosen free nighttime or weekend electricity.

It was first attempted in 2012 and because of customer demand and response, TXU brought the program back and extended the free time by one hour.

Helps Reduce Power Grid Pressure

One of the greatest benefits to the energy grid is the ability to redirect usage away from peak use hours and cutting the risk of rolling brownouts, black outs and inconvenient power outages.

Texas is growing, according to a recent report and when temperatures rise, residents attempt to avoid the heat, by cranking up air-conditioners boosting electrical power demand and causing stress on the state electrical power grid.

Analysts defines a reserve margin as the buffer between the available supply of electricity and peak demand.

Texas’ once robust reserve margins have been eroded over the years by persistently low natural gas prices, which most often sets the price of electricity.  Now, the state’s margin is slightly anemic, according to Electric Reliability Council of Texas region (ERCOT).

Certain targets are established to account for things, like heat waves and unexpected power plant outages.

Peak demand on the state’s electricity grid (which covers most of the state but not El Paso and parts of the Panhandle and East Texas) is rising, but power companies have been reluctant to build plants because low wholesale electricity prices.

Lagging sales haven’t inspired them to build power plants to keep pace with the state’s growing population.

“When customers understand how the grid is affected and how they can help reduce the risks of outages and brownouts, they see the value of “Energy Free Nights” and shift their usage from peak to off peak hours.”

Lower Bills and Trains Consumers More Efficient Power Usage

Texas households traditionally use about 30 percent of their electricity during those hours. That means consumers can potentially get up to 30 percent of their electricity free without changing their usage patterns or habits. Customers who shift energy-consuming activities to the free hours can save even more.

Your actual average price per kWh for electricity service will depend on your usage.

Average Monthly Use

Average Price per kWh

500 kWh

16.20 ¢

1000 kWh

14.40 ¢

2000 kWh

13.50 ¢

Early Cancellation Fee: $150

Free electricity at night applies to per kWh usage charges between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. every day for 12, 18 or 24 full months. There is a penalty for early cancellation.

The more electricity usage you shift to free nighttime hours, the more money in your pocket. Little added. Customers can also avoid rate spikes in the summer months and get price protection, all year long.

“Customers value the ability to control their bills, and the tools we provide help them understand how to manage their usage according to their lifestyles and preferences,” she said. “In addition to free electricity, TXU Energy Free Nights provides straightforward pricing for energy used during the daytime hours and price protection against rising power generation costs during the span of the term plan.”

Little said one of the greatest benefits to customers and the environment is better monitoring, self management and training residents receive concerning savings and conservation.

“There are a lot of different lifestyles people are living today,” she said. “This provides a great opportunity to do a lot of different things requiring heavy power demands and usage during non-peak hours.”

Some of those things part of TXU tips and tools for saving include doing simple tasks after 9 p.m. all for free, such as laundry, vacuuming, dishwasher usage, entertainment, air-conditioning, television and movies.

About TXU Energy

TXU Energy is a market-leading competitive retail electricity provider, powering the lives of more Texans than any other retailer.

The company offers a variety of innovative products and solutions, allowing both its residential and business customers to choose options that best meet their needs, including exceptional customer service, competitively priced electricity service plans, innovative energy efficiency options, renewable energy programs and other electricity-related products and services.

Visit for more information about TXU Energy. REP #10004.

“This is a proactive approach to energy consumption and conservation,” she said, “It saves TXU customers money and helps reduce problems and provides some relief for the power grid.”