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Prepaid Lights with Free Nights and Weekends

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When selecting an electricity provider, you may be overwhelmed with the choices available to you. Ads promise: “Free nights and weekends!” “No credit check!” “No contract!” Why is that? Since the electricity market in Texas was deregulated in 2002, Texas residents have had the freedom to choose from dozens of retail electricity provider companies. Initially, electricity plans were a monopoly of one company, making plans expensive and distribution inadequate. Now, there are more than 70 retail electric providers in Texas.

With competition for your business, the cost of Texas electricity is competitive for consumers.The competition is not just about the price per kilowatt-hour (kWh), but also involves discounts, promotions, and offers geared to attract as many consumers as possible. If you’re setting up electricity in a new home or switching providers in your current home, plenty of options exist.

Before you take what sounds like the best deal, it’s important to understand pricing, discounts, and promotions. For example, it’s common for some consumers to pay more for 999 kWh, than those who have used 1,000 kWh. Rate tiers, bill credits, fees, and other hidden costs can present a challenge to consumers when trying to calculate their usage and determine their payment. Some online calculators can help simplify these calculations. One gimmick select retail electric providers use to attract your business includes offering free power on nights and weekends. 

Before discussing the myths of free nights and weekends electricity plans, it is important to understand why companies offer these kinds of plans. By offering free nights and weekends, electricity providers incentivize consumers to use electricity during off-peak hours. By encouraging off-peak electricity use, it helps power companies avoid outages and equalize energy usage across all times of day. The concept of free nights and weekends can be beneficial to conserve energy, help minimize the strain on the power grid and keep prices stable.

The same can be achieved, however, with thoughtful energy-savvy actions at home. Whether you have a free nights and weekend electricity plan or not, doing chores like laundry or dishes in the evening can help conserve energy – especially during the summer months. It saves you money to use less energy during peak hours, like the heat of the day when demand from air conditioning is high.

WHEN FREE ELECTRICITY REALLY ISN’T FREE

Electricity providers advertising free nights and weekends may not provide the full picture. As you’re looking for affordable electricity for your home, consider these common myths associated with free electricity plans.. 

MYTH #1: FREE MEANS FREE ELECTRICITY

Sure, free nights and weekends electricity plans list your price per kWh as free within certain timeframes. However, in order to make a true cost comparison, compare the cost per kWhoutside of the free timeframes. Often, the cost is much higher during the hours that you are paying forthan plans that charge you during all hours of the day. For example, some comparisons show free nights and weekends plans can be as high as 25.5 cents per kWh, whereas the average price for Texas prepaid electricity is well under 20 cents per kWh (as of September 2022). . So, even though you don’t pay for electricity on nights and weekends, you pay more for the electricity you use the rest of the week.

The advertised kWh rate is also based on what percentage of electricity is expected to be free. For example, one leading plan estimates 34.90% of night and weekend usage, but your actual percentage may be lower, while you’re paying more per kWh during daytime hours.

How to read free nights/free weekends EFL

Examining the free nights and weekends Electricity Facts Label (EFL) will reveal the true cost of electricity for your household.. One leading provider with “free hours” advertised average rates at 25.5 cents* per kWh, but the daytime energy charge is actually 39 cents per kWh upon reading the EFL. By comparison, Payless Power’s prepaid plans are approximately 21cents* per kWh, much less than the “free nights” plan. Offsetting the free nights and weekends with higher daytime rates could result in higher bills for the customer.

*September 2022

MYTH #2: FREE NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS PLANS MAKE SENSE FOR EVERYONE

Marketing materials for free nights and weekends plans have stated that between 30% and 40% of electricity is used on nights and weekends. This statistic leads people to believe that by switching to free nights and weekends, they can save 30% to 40% on their total electric bill. However, after examining the cost structure in myth #1, these savings don’t translate because you are often paying more for the electricity you use during weekdays. Additionally, if 30-40% of electricity is used on nights and weekends, that means 60-70% is used during weekdays. If you and your family spend a lot of time out of your home on weekends or go to bed before 10:00 p.m., it is likely that you won’t see true cost savings from switching plans. 

MYTH #3: THESE PLANS AUTOMATICALLY EQUAL COST SAVINGS

True cost savings with free nights and weekends plans are not as high as some providers lead you to believe. In some cases, the higher price per kWh actually leads to a higher bill than traditional or pay-as-you-go electricity plans. Additionally, these plans often have long contract periods and charge high cancellation fees (of $150 and upwards) that can ultimately trap consumers into paying a higher price for longer periods of time. Additionally, if you don’t have a good idea of your electricity consumption and your peak usage hours, it can be difficult to make adjustments that take advantage of free nights and weekends.

ARE FREE NIGHTS & WEEKEND PLANS WORTH IT?

All in all, free electricity plans can save you money in the right situation, but almost never save you as much as you think. In some cases, consumers have spent between $700 and $1,000 more per year on electricity after being locked into a long-term, high-energy-price contract. Before signing up for a long contract, take time to read the fine print so you completely understand the cost implications.

Payless Power offers simple, gimmick-free prepaid electricity plans that require no deposit or lengthy approval process. Our plans offer a guaranteed rate for the contract term, including short six- and 12-month contracts that don’t lock you in if the plan’s not right for you. Enter your Texas zip code to discover the right plan for you today!

What our customers are saying

See why our power customers say we're the best electricity provider in Texas!

Affordable and easy to make payments

I was worried about getting electricity for my home through a prepaid company. I was calling around to see different rates then going through all the hassle of credit checks while dropping points each…

Christine M. in Killeen

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I have been with this company for several years and have been very happy since. Even when I moved, they made my usually stressful situation very easy and carefree. I recommend them to everyone that I…

Julia L. in Webster

Long term customer

I have enjoyed the service for 2 years now. In the beginning this service was planned to be temporary but with the service being so effective for me i decided to keep it for the long haul. I’m a happy customer.

Kalandra H. in McKinney