When shopping for a new electricity plan, many consumers are tempted by programs that promise free weekend energy. However, these plans are only sometimes as great as they sound. Assess your energy usage habits and lifestyle to understand if this plan is right. To do that, you will need to track your electricity usage for several months.
When understanding your electricity bill, the numbers can be daunting. However, if you take the time to analyze your usage patterns and rates, you can save money on your energy costs. Free night and weekend plans are a unique option that can help you reduce your electric bills by shifting high-usage activities to free periods of the day. This can help stabilize the power grid, help minimize outages, and lead to a greener future.
However, it’s important to understand the limitations of this type of plan before you sign up. For example, free nights and weekends only apply to certain times of the day, and it can be difficult for most families to shift all their energy-intensive tasks to these hours. Additionally, these plans typically have a higher rate per kilowatt-hour during non-free hours. In addition to paying for your electricity, you’ll also pay transmission and distribution (TDU) and other base fees. The fastest way to determine those fees is to review your plan’s Electricity Facts Label or EFL. These labels are available on most electricity providers’ websites and can be found by searching for your plan’s name in the search box.
Whether you’re shopping for an electricity plan for your home or just curious about the deals available, you’ve likely seen energy providers advertising free nights and weekends. While this plan option sounds appealing – especially to people who work from home or stay up late gaming – it may not be worth the switch. The reason is that a free nights and weekends electricity plan isn’t “free.” The program charges you nothing for the electricity used during certain hours – typically, on weekends and after 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. on weekdays – and then it sets you at a higher rate during all other times. The idea is to encourage customers to shift their usage away from peak times, which helps reduce strain on the grid and keeps prices stable. However, even if you can fully take advantage of the free hours offered by your provider, you’ll still pay for a good portion of your electricity each month. The key is to truly understand your energy usage and schedule so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.
While free nights and weekend electricity plans may sound great, reviewing your energy usage patterns before committing to one is important. A project with these terms is unlikely to pay off if you frequently use electricity during expensive peak hours. In addition, most of these plans are tied to a specific term length. If your contract expires before you cancel, you’ll be automatically enrolled in another program with the same type of rates unless you expressly request a different one. It’s also worth remembering that these plans are a good fit for people with busy schedules who can shift their electricity usage to cheaper times of day. Moving energy demand to off-peak hours helps the power grid operate more efficiently and reduces energy costs for everyone. Electricity providers offering free nights and weekend electricity plans use a smart meter to monitor energy usage. They’ll charge a standard rate per kWh during non-free periods and then give customers a percentage of their total usage through free electricity during designated periods each weeknight and weekend. The details of these free hours are usually published on the provider’s electricity facts label (EFL). Using your EFL to calculate whether a free-night and weekend plan will save you money depends on when you typically use energy at home.
During these times, consumers don’t pay for the energy they use. This helps balance out the demand on the energy grid and saves consumers money. When many consumers are concerned about their energy bills, free nights and weekend plans can be attractive. However, these plans are more than one size fits all. Consumers should evaluate their usage patterns before selecting this type of plan and carefully review the terms and conditions.
In addition to determining the exact hours of free electricity, customers should be aware that they still pay for other charges like TDU and standard operating fees. These charges can add up quickly and negate potential savings from the free electricity periods. While making a free night and weekend electricity plan work for most households is possible, it requires diligent monitoring and discipline. For example, shifting all your activities to these free hours is impractical. If you have a family to feed, avoiding washing clothes and running the dishwasher late at night would be difficult.
Furthermore, some free nights and weekend plans come with peak-hour surcharges that can quickly wipe out potential savings. If these additional charges are a concern, a traditional fixed-rate plan may be more suitable. While many individuals who select a free nights and weekend electricity plan save money, it’s important to know the risks associated with these plans before making a final decision.