Just like everything else that is big in the Lonestar state, the wind blows big at night in Texas. This extra wind blowing so strong at night has created a great surplus of much needed electricity, so much in fact that Texas power company TXU is able to provide free electricity to thousands of customers from the hours of 9pm to 6am.
The great state of Texas might possibly have more wind energy than any other state in the country, which will account for roughly 10% of all electricity there. Texas runs its own energy grid, which simply means that the power that is generated in Texas needs to be consumed by the people living there.
Some customers are taking advantage of this amazing free-power-to-the-people offer by unplugging larger appliances during the day, only to plug them in again at night, when the power is free. This give-away is not hurting the company because the storage of the oversupply of electricity costs more to maintain than it does to supply it to customers.
“That is a proverbial win-win for the utility and the customer,” said Omar Siddiqui, the director of energy efficiency at the Electric Power Research Institute, which is a non-profit industry group.
There are similar ideas being introduced in other parts of the world, including Italy. Customers of Enel keep their electricity usage below a certain level during peak hours and they receive incentives. Maryland’s Baltimore G&E is utilizing a program run by Opower, who is running this similar program for many companies. Customers receive credits in the form of rebates for Kwh’s not used during peak times. These rebates are in turn taken off
the customers bill.
There is not one market out there that has gone over the top for its customers like Texas has. “Texas is head and shoulders above everyone else with really unique packages for the consumer,” says Soner Kanlier, a retail energy markets expert at DNV GL based in Norway.
There is an emerging green market today, and the consumer knows that they are important to the company. Without the need, there is no market. Customers expect more and companies are stepping up to provide the best that is available. Even if it has to be free.