Free Nights & Weekends Plans: Friend or Foe?

Are these Texas electricity plans worth it? Find out if free nights and weekends plans are right for you.

If you've been comparing electric companies in Texas, you've probably seen energy plans that feature free nights and weekends, but what does that actually mean?

At Rhythm, we believe in complete transparency when it comes to your energy provider. As you shop for electricity plans, you'll notice several companies boasting free nights and weekend plans to the public, however it's important to consider various factors before falling prey to this misleading advertisement. We're here to tell you that all the glitter is not gold. Let's find out why.

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Beware: you'll pay more during peak hours

Electricity plans that promote free nights and weekends use variable rates. This means you may be saving money on nights and weekends, but during peak hours you'll pay a lot more.

Is "free electricity" really free?

Free electricity sounds great, doesn't it? Who doesn't want to save money with free power? One of the biggest problems with free electricity plans is that they can wind up costing you even more money down the road than a fixed-rate energy plan. Fixed-rate electricity plans are great because they guarantee the price of energy you'll pay for the length of your contract and there are no surprises.

What to ask your electric company

If you find a plan that promotes free electricity, one of the best things you can do is reach out to the supplier's customer service team to learn more. Here are a few questions you can ask them to help you decide whether the energy plan really equates to free power and is right for you. 

  • What is the price per kilowatt-hour of electricity during the non-free times of day?  

  • What times of day or days of the week qualify as free energy? 

  • Are there any cancellation fees or penalties to be aware of if I leave the contract early? 

  • What is the length of the contract? 

  • Where does the energy come from? Fossil fuels? Renewable energy? A hamster on a wheel? 

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Free electricity can mean higher energy rates

We don't say this to bum you out—we just want you to know the facts. When it comes to plans with free nights and weekends, the rate you pay per kilowatt-hour during the non-free times can be significantly higher than a fixed-rate plan. In other words, you'll be paying a higher energy rate during peak demand than what you're actually using.

Common electricity fees to know

Before you sign up for a free nights and weekends electricity plan, make sure you understand what fees and charges are included in the plan. Electric companies that offer these "free electricity" plans tend to tack fees onto your monthly bill. Some common fees are listed below.

Base charge fees

This is a negotiable fee for simply having the electricity service.

Minimum usage fees

If you don't use enough electricity during your billing cycle, you can get charged more.

Transmission & distribution fees

This extra charge is so the utility company can deliver the energy to your home.

Fixed charges

This is oftentimes a mandatory fee that electric companies charge you before your meter begins to run out.

Reconnection & disconnection fees

If you don't keep up with your account balance or your contract is terminated, you'll be hit with these fees.

Serial payment fees

This is a payment that increases each period to keep up with inflation.

How does Rhythm compare to other Texas electricity providers?

We don't charge silly fees

At Rhythm, we don't believe in unnecessary charges and fees. Document processing fees? Nope. Disconnect notice fees? Nada. Serial payment fees? Zilch. In fact, we'll cover your current energy provider's termination fee (up to $150 in bill credits) if you're ready to switch to a 100% renewable energy plan. We even reward our customers for simply setting up Auto-Pay, Referring a Friend and signing up for eBill.

Free nights & weekends electricity plans FAQ

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Rhythm does not currently offer free nights and weekends plans, however our green energy plans are both affordable and good for the planet. From wind energy plans and solar energy plans, all of our plans are 100% renewable. We also offer solar buyback plans for Texas residents who want to maximize the value of their solar energy system.

As a Texan, you have the power to choose who your electricity provider is, thanks to Texas’ deregulated energy market.

Within the energy community, energy plans offering free nights and weekends originated from a concept known as "Time of Use." In the early days, electric companies created these plans as a way to encourage residential customers to shift their energy usage from peak demand hours to not-so-peak hours. Why, you ask? Well, if most of the population continued to use all of their energy during peak hours, it would essentially create more demand than supply could offer. This can lead to reduced demand, less electric grid stress, and lower energy prices.

When you sign up for an electricity plan with free nights and weekends, a smart meter monitors your home's energy usage throughout the day. Depending on the type of plan and provider you choose, the timeframe may vary. For example, some electricity companies offer free nights and weekends, with the caveat that electricity is free only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. during the week, but this can vary. The weekend hours can vary as well, often starting Friday evening and ending Sunday night, but it's always best to read the fine print to make sure you understand what "free energy" really means.

Free nights and weekends electricity plans tend to have higher energy rates. According to an article from TexasElectricityRatings.com, free electricity plans can charge as much as 50% more for your electricity usage!

So, the real question is, can an energy plan with free nights and weekends save you money? Ultimately, this depends on when you're home and how much energy you use during peak hours. One topic many Texas energy companies avoid highlighting is the additional fees and charges you can end up paying for these "free energy" plans.

Pro Tip: If you're considering signing up for a free nights and weekends plan with a Texas electricity company, be sure to read the fine print on the Electricity Facts Label (EFL).

As you shop for a Texas electricity plan, you may wonder if free weekend energy plans are worth it. While these plans can work for people who use the bulk of their home energy during the weekend, they do not work for everyone. Make sure to check the EFL on free weekend energy plans to see a breakdown of costs and fees so you have an idea of what to expect on your electricity bill.

Depending on the energy plan and provider you choose, the fine print around free nights will vary. These electricity plans often charge customers less for using electricity at certain times of the night. These times are off-peak hours where power demand is at its lowest. Unless you use a majority of your electricity at night, these energy plans may not be a good fit for you.

This will depend on the electricity provider and energy plan you choose. Oftentimes, free nights and weekends plans start around 8 or 9 p.m. and end around 5 or 6 a.m. Not sure if a free nights and weekends plan is right for you? Check out our 100% renewable energy plans in Texas.

You've probably seen the term "peak hours" thrown around, but what does this mean in the energy world? Peak hours, or peak demand, are the times of day where most people need to utilize electricity. Think of the average Texan who goes to work in the morning and comes home at 4 or 5 p.m.. When you get home, you flip on the TV, turn up the A/C, and start making yourself dinner while simultaneously browsing the internet from your phone. All of these activities require a significant amount of energy usage, and this is the time of day where the electric grid sees the most activity.

See how easy it is to save with our 100% renewable energy plans

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