How other Energy Providers are trying to fool you with Time of Use


If you’ve turned on the TV recently, or even driven your daily commute, you’ve likely been bombarded with those flashy commercials and billboards boasting about "free nights and weekends" for your electricity, sparkling with promises.

Texas electricity providers have devised clever methods to pique your interest. One approach that has been making waves is the "free" or “time of use” strategy in the form of "free energy usage during specific times” electricity plans. Consumers should stay informed about innovative approaches to energy management, so we'll dissect the strategies they employ to make these offers irresistible and appealing. But before you're dazzled by these glitzy offers, let's peel back the layers and uncover what truly lies beneath the surface of these deals.

What is “Free” or “Time of Use” Strategy?

"Free" or “time of use” electricity plans are a unique pricing model introduced by Retail Electricity Providers that offer consumers an opportunity to save on their energy bills - or do they? These plans typically offer you the "free" period during lower usage time frames. These determined times could be "Nights" or "Weekends" and are considered to be "free", however, if you take a deeper look at what these companies are pricing the non-free periods you will notice that the non-free periods are significantly higher than the market average - oftentimes 80-100% more than market average.


The Pitfalls of Time of Use

It's essential to understand the tactics and potential pitfalls of the “time of use” strategy. Retail Electricity Providers (or REPs) often market these plans by emphasizing the allure of free or low-cost energy during off-peak hours, which is undoubtedly appealing. However, some providers may set usage thresholds, and if you exceed them during "free" hours, you could face higher rates.

The Pitfalls of Time of Use

Additionally, the definition of peak and off-peak hours can vary, making it crucial to scrutinize the terms and conditions. Providers might also require specific criteria to be met, such as consistent on-time payments, for customers to enjoy these rates. The key to navigating these offers is to read the fine print, understand your usage patterns, and remain vigilant to ensure you genuinely benefit from these "free" or “time of use” electricity plans.

What to Watch Out For

While the concept of "free" electricity holds undeniable appeal, Texas electricity providers employ a range of strategies to make these offers more enticing. This underscores the importance of reading the fine print and comprehending the true essence of these plans.

Potential pitfalls to remain vigilant of: 

Peak and Off-Peak Hours

Being well-informed about the peak and off-peak hours designated within your "free" or “time of use” plan is essential. Understanding precisely when you can access free electricity and when you cannot is the distinction between substantial savings and potentially higher bills. To optimize your benefits, closely monitor your usage patterns and align them with the plan's "free" hours. This proactive approach can help you maximize your savings while avoiding unexpected expenses. Additionally, peak hours may change seasonally so adjust your usage accordingly.

Off-Peak Hours

Terms & Conditions

Choosing an energy plan, whether it involves "free" electricity or not, necessitates careful examination of the terms and conditions. Providers often include specific clauses that govern the use and benefits of "free" energy. Familiarizing yourself with these terms ensures that you maximize the advantages of your chosen plan. Pay attention to any stipulations, such as requirements for the duration of your plan, usage patterns, or the type of meter you have.

Types of Usage Charges

With various types of fees depending on your plan, navigating the world of energy charges can be complex. It's essential to educate yourself about these charges to make informed decisions. Understand how your chosen plan calculates your usage and costs to ensure that the "free" hours truly align with your energy consumption patterns.

The following charges encompass the energy rate, which dictates the price for each unit of electricity, the delivery or transmission charge for transporting electricity to your home, potential demand charges based on peak usage, and additional fees such as renewable energy programs, taxes, or surcharges.

Demand charges are fees based on the peak electricity usage within a defined period. They apply at specific times, adding costs beyond standard consumption charges. Renewable energy program initiatives offer options to support cleaner energy sources, such as solar or wind power. While promoting sustainability, they may come with additional costs. Finally, surcharges are extra fees in electricity bills that may cover various additional expenses, such as taxes, infrastructure upgrades, or administrative costs.

By grasping these diverse usage charges, you'll be better equipped to evaluate the genuine value of "free" or “time of use” hours, enabling you to make well-informed decisions and optimize your savings.

While the idea of "free" or “time of use” electricity plans can be enticing, it's crucial to be a discerning consumer. Educate yourself about the intricacies, hidden costs, and benefits of these plans, and always read the fine print. To further empower yourself in the world of energy plans, refer back to OnPoint Energy's blog for additional tips and insights. Understanding the nuances of "free" periods will help you make the best decision for your unique energy consumption needs and financial goals.

 At OnPoint, we believe in honesty and transparency. We'll never dangle the "free" carrot just to bait and switch you later. That's what sets us apart from the rest of the Texas electricity providers. With us, you can trust that what you see is what you get – no tricks, just straightforward energy solutions that work for you. Contact us today to get started at or 1-833-667-6468.

Types of Usage Charges

Average price per kWh

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