What’s the Deal with ‘Free’ Electricity — and Why is It Free?

Originally, free electricity plans weren’t free. Called “time of use” plans, they offered a reduced rate for nights and weekends when electricity was cheap and not in high demand. Energy companies wanted people to shift their usage to those times and away from high-demand times like the middle of the day when energy is most expensive.

But most people aren’t used to energy lingo, which explains why the general public was so confused to see two different electricity rates in one plan. So, retail electricity companies decided to make those cheaper times — which fell on nights and weekends — free. They would then charge a higher rate for the middle of the day on weekdays and tell people to use energy during the free electricity times. It’s a great marketing strategy: Who doesn’t like free stuff?

The Electricity at Night and on Weekends Really is Free

That’s right — the electricity you use at night and on the weekends is actually free. But there’s a catch: 

  • Most people are asleep at night when the electricity is free
  • You still pay the transmission and distribution charges for the full month to the public utility company to physically deliver the energy to your home
  • You still have to pay the other fees and charges that typically appear on your bill

So, the free hours are really free, but you have to pay close attention to the details of your plan and read the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) carefully. If you don’t know how to read one, we’ve got a helpful EFL guide that makes them easy to understand. 

The Other Hours Almost Always Have Very High Rate

Compared to traditional fixed-rate and even variable-rate electricity plans, free nights and weekends typically have a much higher rate for the non-free hours of the day. This are two key reasons for this setup: 

  • Many people are typically out of the house for most of the day. However, in this day and age, more people are working from home. 
  • The goal of these plans is to shift your energy usage to times when electricity is not in high demand. High rates during the day discourage you from using electricity then.

This is why a lot of people are surprised when they receive a high electric bill when they thought they were saving money. It’s great for attracting customers, but it creates lots of confusion and frustration because people don’t understand they must change their lifestyles to truly take advantage of these plans. 

Our Fixed-Rate Plans Always Have a Low Rate

At Chariot Energy, we want to change the way people think about power. That starts by offering affordable prices on renewable energy. Clean power is the way forward, and it starts with you. You don’t even need solar panels! We help you go all-in on solar without the hefty cost of panels. 

Blaze 6

  • 6-month fixed rate
  • 100% solar
  • No deposit required for qualified customers †
  • Free cancellation within 30 days

Blaze 12

  • 12 months of peace of mind
  • 100% green energy powered by solar
  • No deposit required for qualified customers †
  • Free cancellation within 30 days

GridEdge 12

  • 12 months of peace of mind
  • 100% green energy from grid solar
  • $90 bill credit at 1,1000 kWh
  • No monthly service charge
  • Free cancellation within 30 days

Free Nights Plans Can Be Successful, But You Have to Work Around Them

The reality is this: Free nights and weekends electricity plans just aren’t convenient. For these types of plans to work, which they can and do for some people, you’ve got to pay attention to when the free hours are and how you use electricity. 

For example, if you want to start dinner but don’t want to pay the electricity cost of cooking it, then you’ll have to wait until your energy company says so. Or, if you get home at 6, and the free power doesn’t kick in until 8, then you’ve got to decide whether to pay for AC for 2 hours or wait in the heat.

Free energy is pretty awesome — except when it isn’t. That’s why we believe there are better solutions out there that can still save you money on your electricity bill — and that don’t involve starting dinner at 8 p.m. 

The Future of Energy is Clear: It’s Clean

Father and son watering the yard

In the beginning, renewable energy had a reputation for being expensive, but we can now debunk that myth for good. Today, clean energy sources like solar and wind are just as affordable, if not more affordable, than traditional electricity powered by fossil fuels. 

Sunshine is free, and we’ll never run out of it. Chariot Energy exists so you can access the benefits of solar power without having to invest in solar panels yourself. With the help of our affiliates, we’ve built two massive solar projects in West Texas, and we’re showing no signs of stopping. 

You can help make the future brighter for us all without worrying about whether cooking your dinner before nightfall will gonna cost you a pretty penny. All it takes is a few clicks to access pure, clean 100% Texas solar power.