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Free Nights, Free Weekends, Free Lunch?

Mar 27, 2019 11:48:56 AM

Are you one of the many who has fallen victim to a misleading energy plan? In today's world, some electricity plans are being marketed in such a way where customers are led to believe that the name of the product or plan is synonymous with how the customer will be invoiced. We recently demystified a misleading energy plan, known as a "tiered-rate," but maybe an even more intriguing and deceptive plan out in the market is called Free Nights and Weekends. The way free nights and weekends electricity plans are advertised make them sound like an ideal way to save on your electric bill. Spoiler alert: this plan is the energy equivalent to a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

no_free_lunchFirst and foremost, why does this plan exist? Companies offer this plan in an attempt to incentivize consumers to use electricity during off-peak hours. The concept seems great; consumers use more energy when electricity is in less demand which equalizes the energy grid the rest of the day. However, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Here's the full picture on these types of plans and some myths associated with them.

Myth #1: Free Means Free.
Free, sure, this is just about as promising as "no strings attached." Is there even such a thing? Flashback to any Econ 101 class and a professor yelling “there is NO such thing as a free lunch!” We recommend that before enrolling in any energy plan you should always check the Electricity Facts Label (EFL). Any of the Free Nights and Weekends plans will show the specific hours where your price per kilowatt hour (kWh) are free. The real stinger is to double check the price per kWh during the hours that won't be free, which is the majority of the day. Free is not looking like such a great deal and that Econ class is starting to finally make sense. 

Myth #2: Free Nights and Weekends is a Great Plan for Everyone.
According to information on these plans, the "free" portion of these plans only accounts for 30% - 40% of your usage.  That just means that the other 60% - 70% of the time, you're most likely being charged a ridiculous rate. More so, if you spend the majority of your time out on the weekends or you go to bed before 10:00 PM, this type of plan is really doing you a disservice.

Myth #3: Free Nights and Weekends Equals Cost Savings.
As stated above, there isn't a real value add or cost savings that electric suppliers will advertise. The higher price per kWh that you pay during the day will, in fact, lead to a higher bill over time and will more than likely have you trapped in a contract for an extended time. Not to mention the high cancellation fees.

In theory, Free Nights and Weekends sounds like it's a win-win for consumers and suppliers, but generally, it falls in favor of the company rather than the consumer. Given the right circumstance, this plan could be good for you depending on your lifestyle, but for the general public, we highly recommend staying away from these plans - just like the dating app your friends keep hassling you to join. At APG&E we strive to keep things simple and as easy as possible.

Topics: For Customers

Mollie Dean

Written by Mollie Dean

Mollie joined the APG&E team in January 2018. She is an experienced digital sales and marketing analyst with a history of working in retail electricity and natural gas.