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Direct Energy was founded in Toronto in 1986, as a competitive energy retailer. In 2000, the company was acquired by the British multinational energy and services company, Centrica.

Direct Energy is one of the largest providers of energy and energy-related services in North America. With customers in all 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces, and Washington, D.C. Direct Energy has also shown to be a progressive company, developing new plans, products and technology that deliver consumer insights and resources to help them save money.

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy was founded in Toronto in 1986, as a competitive energy retailer. In 2000, the company was acquired by the British multinational energy and services company, Centrica.

In 2010, Direct Energy acquired Clockwork Home Services and its three brands: One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, and Mister Sparky (electrical services). As a result, Direct is now the largest energy and home services retailer in North America. The company has grown to roughly 4,000 employees serving over 4 million customers in North America, including 10 Canadian provinces and all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Direct Energy provides retail electricity and natural gas services in 15 states. Texas is by far one of Direct Energy's most important markets. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Direct operates several retail electricity brands that include Direct Energy and First Choice Power. In South Texas, Direct Energy operates as CPL Retail Energy and CPL Business. In West Texas, Direct Energy operates as WTU Retail Energy and WTU Business.

Direct Energy purchased Bounce Energy and First Choice Energy in 2013. Direct retired the Bounce Energy in September, 2019 and transferred those customers to Direct Energy. Meanwhile, First Choice is still active in Texas.

In May, 2019, Direct Energy completed the $300 million sale of Clockwork Home Services and certain of its affiliates to Authority Brands. Currently, Direct Energy's subsidiary, Home Warranty of America, provides home warrantee and service plans that utilizes local repair providers.

Direct Energy Plans

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Direct Energy Ratings

The overall score for Direct Energy is 3.17. Their best category was Products where they earned a score of 4.49, while their worst rating came in at 1.90 in Community. More detailed information on these ratings is available on our Direct Energy Rating Detail page.

  • Rating Overall
  • 3.17
  • Communications
  • 4.23
  • Market Perception
  • 3.02
  • Operations
  • 3.85
  • Products
  • 4.49

What People Are Asking About Direct Energy

Texas electricity deregulation, and Retail Electricity Providers can be complicated.

To answer your frequently asked questions about Direct Energy read on.

Featured Plans for Direct Energy

These are a few plans that we think you'll like. We also have a more detailed listing of all TX plans for Direct Energy, or you can use our Direct Energy Rate Comparison Page to find a great deal

Direct Energy In The Community

Direct Energy's community involvement is very progressive. Their active social communities on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest keep them in contact with their customers. Direct Energy stays involved with community efforts through company programs and charitable grants. They encourage employee involvement as well by providing employees with one paid volunteer day a year.

Direct Energy not only works to help nonprofits increase the energy efficiency of their program or products but they also underwrite several important charitable and community initiatives:

  • The Volunteer Citizen of the Year award recognizes the significant efforts of individuals who make their communities a better place to live. The award goes to the community-nominated individual or organization that most exemplifies the volunteer spirit. First introduced in Alberta, Canada in 2005 has been expanded to include numerous cities throughout the U.S. The award winner can choose a charity to receive $5000.
  • Direct Energy is a proud partner of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. In 2017, Direct contributed $2,444,116 to the network of 170 children's hospitals across the United States and Canada.
  • In Houston, Direct Energy has committed five million dollars through the Direct Energy Foundation to the Children's Heart Center in the Texas Children's Hospital.

Direct Energy Business

Like residential customers, business customers also face TDU charges on their monthly bills. However, how business customers use electricity has a bearing on what sort of TDU charges they will face. Not only are businesses charged on a kWh usage, some pay on a kilo-volt amperes (kVa) demand basis. Demand charges are based on the rate at which electric energy is delivered to a business by the TDU at a given instant. Businesses that draw more than 10 kVA ( about ten 1,000 watt hair dryers running all at once) or more on average face demand charges.

During the four summer months, June, July, August and September, when electricity demand climbs as fast the thermometer, TDUs measure how much power different businesses use during peak demand. Known as the 4 Critical Peaks or 4CP, the average of an individual customer's peaks during the highest grid peak hours is used to set the 4CP kilowatt rate for the entire next calendar year. That rate starts with the January electricity bill. Keeping your summer demand as low as possible will save your business money year round.

Like many Texas electricity providers for business, Direct Energy does have a direct response program. Direct response programs involve temporarily halting or curtailing activities in your business that have high electricity demand. Businesses are also paid for curtailments during demand response events. Plus, these programs also offer other ways to reduce electricity demands without cutting production all together.

This not only cuts electricity bills even further, it also improves the stability of the Texas grid benefitting all Texans.

Direct Energy Featured Plans

All plans listed include a $4.95 monthly base charge. Fixed rate plans also include an Early Termination Fee of $135 that will be applied if the customer cancels the plan contract before it expires.

Direct's two flat rate fixed energy plans discussed below are not complicated by tiers, usage windows, or bill credits. They have just one rate for all usage amounts. The energy charge is the same no matter if the amount used is 500 kWh, 1,000 kWh, or 2,000 kWh. Flat rate plans are usually easier to understand as there's just one price.

Some low usage customers shy away from flat rate plans when they first look at them because it appears that the price penalizes people who use less energy. That's not exactly what's happening. Instead, there's a distortion that happens because the rate, base charges, and TDU charges are all added together and then divided by the usage amount to show the average price per kwh. For that reason, only the plan's energy charge rates are discussed.

Live Brighter 12 This is a straight forward flat-rate contract for 12 months. Compared to other providers, Direct Energy's plans features one of the lowest energy charges around. However, because this plan is a flat rate, the lack of discounts makes it one of the more expensive. But since this plan IS a flat rate, low usage customers don't get penalized for using too little. That makes this plan a reasonably good choice for small apartment dwellers.

Live Brighter 24 With a slightly lower energy charge, this is the 2 year version of the Live Brighter 12. The same features also apply here: while it's not the lowest rate due to the lack of discounts or bill credits, low usage customers will find the flat rate let's them pay a lower monthly bill without being penalized compared to many tiered-rate plans.

Free Power Weekends 24 According to the plan's EFL, the average price calculations are based on a total consumption profile over a 12 month period that assumes 31.0% of consumption occurs during the “Designated Free Period” or weekend. Unfortunately, the plan's energy charge during the week is nearly twice that of other Direct Energy's regular fixed rate plans.

Let's assume that usage is 1500 kWh/month and the Free Power Weekend energy charge is 13.8 per kWh. If we drop 30% of usage amount (500 kWh) as the Free Weekend, the energy charge alone would then look like this: 1000 kWh x $0.138 cents per kWh = $138.00.

But if we assume that the Live Brighter 24 energy charge is 7.5 cents per kWh and also assume same usage of 1500 kWh, the energy charge looks like this: 1500 kWh x $0.075 = $112.50.

So, even with Free Weekend discount, Direct Energy customers are still more likely to pay more on average than they would with the flat rate plan at the same term length. That doesn't mean that Free Weekend customers will pay more. But, it does show that this plan requires customers to know much more about their usage and their usage habits and how to adapt them in order to take advantage of the weekend discount.

Bright Choice A month-to-month variable rate plan, it offers a low rate for the first month. Afterwards, customers will likely see their rate rise and they should expect that to happen. A was already mentioned, these sort of plans should be used for temporary electricity service. Because their rates vary with the change in electricity demand in the ERCOT grid, they shouldn't be seen as a long term energy solution.

Why do flat rate Direct Energy plans show I pay more for using less? Recurring base charges and TDU charges tend to make the lower usage price per kWh appear higher. That's because the lower the usage, the higher the contributing cost per the same base charge amount. Both Direct Energy and the TDU have recurring base charges that are fixed amounts (and all their customers pay them). Therefore, the lower your usage per kWh, the higher percentage of your bill goes to paying for base charges. For example, Direct Energy charges $4.95 as a monthly base charge. Dividing that base charge amount by the usage equals how much that base charge contributes to the total cost of electricity.

  • 500kWh usage: $4.95/500 kWh = $0.0099 (or .99 cents per kWh)
  • 1000 kWh usage: $4.95/1000 kWh = $0.00495 (or .495 cents per kWh)

The same rule applies to TDU prices. For example, plug in Centerpoint's TDU charges:
($0.040512 per kWh + $5.47 base charge):

For 1,000 kWh

1000 kWh x $0.040512 = $40.512 + $5.47 = $45.982
$45.982/1000 kWh = $0.045982 OR 4.5982 cents per kWh

For 500 kWh

500 kWh x $0.040512 = $20.25+ $5.47 = $25.726
$25.726/500 kWh = $0.05145 OR 5.145 cents per kWh

In both cases, the price per kWh amounts for 500 kWh usage are higher than 1,000 kWh. If we plug these amounts into an energy charge rate of 10 cents per kWh, the average price per kWh looks like this:

For 1,000 kWh: 10 cents per kWh + 0.495 (Direct Energy base charge/kWh) + 4.5982 (TDU) cents per kWh = 15.0932 cents per kWh

For 500 kWh: 10 cents per kWh + 0.99 (Direct Energy base charge/kWh)+ 5.145 (TDU) cents per kWh = 16.135 cents per kWh

Low usage customers must remember that it's the energy charge that matters. On flat rate plans, no matter how all the base charges and TDU charges and sliced and diced, customers who use 500 kWh of electricity will still pay lower monthly bills that those who use 1,000 kWh.

Direct Energy App and Alexa

Direct has also used technological innovation as a way to win customers. In 2014, it partnered with Nest Labs to offer customers savings with the smart thermostat. Now, with smart thermostats no longer a novelty, customers can get an Amazon Echo Dot with a Direct Energy plan to manage their home energy and their Direct Energy account. Customers can interact with Amazon's Alexa digital assistant to log into their Direct Energy MyAccount and check on account balances, due dates, referring friends, and managing energy usage.

Direct Energy also helps customers stay informed via their smart device with its Direct Energy Account Manager app. This app lets customers sign up for service, transfer service, manage payment methods, set up AutoPay, check usage, and pay bills. Reviews at the Apple App store gives the iOS version 4.5 stars. The Google Android version fares worse with only 2 stars.

Direct Energy Bill Pay

Customers can choose a variety of payment options. These include paying online at the Direct energy website through their secure Account Manager portal. There is also payment by mail, overnight mail, in person at a convenient location in your area, or with a Direct Energy care center agent via phone for a $4.95 fee.

Direct Energy offers its customers a reward for paying their bills on time. There four reward programs include movie tickets, gift cards, and even free electricity upon your sixth on-time payment.

Direct Energy EFL and Plan Expiration

When a Texas electricity customer signs up for a plan, what happens when the plan expires is usually the last thing on their mind. All the same, it's an important feature in an energy plan to consider when shopping. To be clear, Texas law states that Texas electricity customers shall be notified (by mail or electronically) at least 30 days or one billing cycle prior to the date of contract expiration, but no more than 60 days or two billing cycles in advance of contract expiration for a residential customer.

According to Direct Energy's terms of service, variable rate plans and fixed rate plans do not have the same rules about notifications.

For variable rate/month-to-month customers, Direct Energy will not notify the customer about rates changes. Direct can change variable rate prices at any time and for any reason. And the rate can change every month.

For fixed rate customers, Direct sends out notices at least 30 days before the end of the initial contract term as spelled out on the Direct Energy EFL. This contract term notice tells customers that if they do not renew their contract or switch by the time the contract ends that they will be automatically switched to Direct's month-to-month variable rate default plan.

In other words, if your new 12 month plan began on January 1, you should expect a contract term notice later that year by December 1 at the latest. If you don't renew with Direct or switch to a different plan or provider, your next bill's rate could jump by 2 or 3 times the amount you were originally paying during the contract period.

So, when you receive your plan's expiration notice, it's time to shop for a new plan.

Understanding Direct Energy's Rates and Plans

Direct Energy EFL: Variable and Fixed Rates

How much Direct Energy plans cost you depends mostly on whether the plan's rate is variable or fixed. Because the market rate for electricity changes constantly, Direct Energy can change the rate for their variable rate plans at any time and for any reason. Their variable rate EFL spells it out in clear black and white: “This price is the price that will be applied during your first billing cycle; this price may change in subsequent months at the sole discretion of Direct Energy.”

Fixed rate plans, however, have fixed prices. Once you agree to a fixed rate plan, the contract keeps the price for your energy charge constant throughout the term of the contract.

How the Right Energy Plan and Rate Saves You Money Variable rate plans tend to be great conveniences for short term periods, especially when you need a little more time or flexibility. For example, if you're moving or if you're between plans and you want extra time to shop for the best fixed rate, then signing onto a month-to-month variable plan with a low introductory rate can save you money. BUT remember that this introductory rate usually only applies for your first month. Since you're only using the month-to-month plan to give you extra time to shop, then you want to switch to a fixed rate electricity plan by the end of the month. Otherwise, the rate on your month-to-month plan jumps up to the going rate and your next bill doubles.

Electricity prices change constantly and can be unpredictable. During periods of extreme weather, like winter and especially summer, having a variable or fixed rate plan can either cost you or save you hundreds of dollars. That's because high energy demand causes the energy charge rate per kWh to rise, sometimes suddenly. Customers with variable rate plans could see Direct Energy's energy charges shoot up from 9 cents per kWh to 20 cents or more from one month to the next. Meanwhile, customers with fixed rate plans face no additional costs because the price for their Direct Energy fixed rate plan was locked-in ahead of time.

Direct Energy's Average Energy Charges

According to Direct plan EFLs, energy charges for fixed rate plans tend to run approximately 7.5 cents to 13.8 cents per kWh. All plans also come with a $4.95 base. On the whole, Direct's energy charge rates are straight-forward and fairly competitive with few “fine print” gimmicks when compared to their competitors.

Like other providers' “free” electricity plans, customers need to carefully consider their usage and their habits when it comes to Direct Energy's free weekend plans. Part of the sales pitch is that even though a third estimated consumption is on weekends, customers who shift and adapt their usage further can save money. While that may be somewhat true, the fact is that the plan's energy charges are as much 2 to 3 times higher than average during the week. And since these plans are usually offered in 12 month fixed rate or longer terms, it's certain that for several months in the year your heating and air conditioning could take a big chomp out of any potential weekend savings. As with all of these types of plans, it's up to the customer to be mindful and control their usage in order to reap the savings.

As always, Customers need to read plan EFLs carefully and fully understand how a plan's pricing works before signing up for it.

How do I get the Cheapest Direct Energy Rate?

We've created a step by step guide to help you get the cheapest electricity rate. Or you can use our Bill Calculator tool.

Listed here are the cheapest rates offered by Direct Energy in your area. If you would like, you may compare all Direct Energy rates, or view all Direct Energy plans and products to choose the best electricity plan for your home.

Direct Energy Rates for Houston

Houston - Centerpoint Electricity prices as of 03-25-2023. Compare Houston Electricity Rates.

Direct Energy Rates for Dallas

Dallas - Oncor Electricity prices as of 03-25-2023. Compare Dallas Electricity Rates.

Direct Energy Rates for Abilene

Abilene - AEP North Electricity prices as of 03-25-2023. Compare Abilene Electricity Rates.

Direct Energy Rates for Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi - AEP Central Electricity prices as of 03-25-2023. Compare Corpus Christi Electricity Rates.

Understand Your Direct Energy Bill

Unsure about how to decipher your Direct Energy bill?

We can help.

Check out our How to Understand your Direct Energy Bill page where you can get information on what the various charges and fees mean.

Direct Energy Reviews

With a market share of 23% of electricity sales in Texas, Direct Energy is a major retail electricity providers in the Lone Star State. The Texas PUC Sorecard rates the company 4 of 5 circles. It recently reported a total of only 104 complaints about Direct between April and September, 2019.

Direct Energy Scores and Ratings:

Texas Electricity Ratings Overall Score for Direct Energy

3.2 / 5

Direct Energy Reviews

455 Reviews for Direct Energy


total reviews

News Articles About Direct Energy

Best Houston Business Electricity Rates for 2023

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Who Has The Best Houston Business Electricity Rates? 

Shop cheap Houston business electricity rates for next year. Start off the new year by paying less for your Texas electricity rates and save more for your business!
Start the new year right for your Houston business with new electricity rates! Shop these competitive plans to help you beat inflation and save more.

When customers walk into a store, they think about the products they’ll buy and the prices they’ll pay. It’s only natural. However, business owners know a number of factors go into pricing. Customers don’t think about what it costs to keep the lights on. But business owners sure do! To keep your bottom line low, you need the best Houston business electricity rates. So, let's compare commercial electric plans with the best rates on 12-month power contracts. 

Tight Competition For Best Houston Electricity Rates

Residential customers tend to have a lot of flexibility in their consumption patterns. This is why homeowners might select free nights, free weekends, tiered rates, and bill credit plans. 

However, there aren’t many pricing gimmicks with commercial electricity. In almost all cases, businesses pay a flat rate which makes your monthly power bill predictable. Therefore, the gap between the lowest priced and highest priced power plans is much narrower in the business market than in the residential market. 

Right now, the cheapest 12-month business power plan comes from Cirro Energy. This plan’s rate is 9.4 cents per kWh. According to 2021 data from the US Energy Information Administration, the average Texas business uses 7,935 kWh per month. With this plan, the average bill comes to $749. Your business may use much more or far less, so apply this plan’s rate to your current billed usage to estimate what you might pay.

Other Favorable Plans 

You have other good options from other commercial electricity providers in Texas. For example, Direct Energy has a plan with a 9.9-cent rate. On the other hand, Engie, offers what appears to be an even better rate for 9.6 cents. But remember to read the plan's EFL to find out important details such as monthly base charges and the actual energy costs. Sometimes plans with great rates come with monthly charges that gnaw into your bottom line over the course of the year.

Competitive Pricing For Your Business

Now, you know which plans offer the best Houston business electricity rates. Sign up for the one that best aligns with your needs at It’ll help keep your overhead costs low, so you can offer competitive prices to your clients.   

Top 5 Free Nights & Weekends Light Companies in Houston

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Get free Texas electricity! Shop the best free nights & weekends plans in Houston, TX. Compare plans, compare reviews! Choose the best provider!
Want free Texas electricity?
Sure you do! Then shop the best free nights & weekends plans in Houston, TX.

Do Houston Electricity Companies Have Free Nights & Weekends Plans?

Everyone loves something for free. It feels like you’re getting away with something, but you don’t have any guilt. Wouldn’t you love free electricity for your home? Several top notch Houston light companies offer electricity plans with free nights & weekends. Your air conditioner, clothes dryer, and dishwasher can run, and you don’t pay a dime … provided you run these appliances at the right time. 

Which Light Companies Have Free Nights & Weekends

Plenty of Texas electricity companies offer free nights & weekends plans. The table below shows the retail electricity providers with the highest Texas Electricity Ratings scores:  
Retail Electricity Provider TER Rating Plan Average Price at 1,000 kWh
TXU Energy 4.5 stars Free Nights & Solar Days 12 15.5 cents
Reliant Energy 4.0 stars Truly Free 7 Days 12 14.8 cents
Reliant Energy 4.0 stars Truly Free Nights 12 15.3 cents
Direct Energy 2.5 stars Free Power Weekends 12 12.6 cents
Pulse Power 2.5 stars Free Energy Nights 12 10.4 cents

So What’s The Catch? 

It sounds too good to be true, you might say. Well, they’re not trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Each plan’s electricity facts label (EFL) shows what you’ll pay. The way these retail electricity providers can give you free nights & weekends is by charging higher rates than normal during other times. They predict how much energy the average user will spend in the free times and the paid times. Then, they set their prices accordingly.  

Who Are The Best Customers For Free Nights & Weekends?

For these plans to work for you, you need to skew your Houston electricity consumption to the hours when electricity is free. For starters, people who have an empty house during the normal workday are prime candidates for these plans. They can drastically reduce their power consumption when no one is home, particularly when they use a smart thermostat. On top of that, customers should plan using large appliances like dishwashers, clothes washers, and clothes dryers when electricity is free. This may mean folding your laundry while you binge Netflix and setting your dishwasher to run after you go to bed. If this type of plan is right for your situation or you can adapt, you really can save money on utility bills

Start Free Nights & Weekends Today! 

When your current electricity plan is about to run out, your company sends you a notice. If you do nothing, they can put you on one of their variable rate plans. Those can be expensive. The way to avoid this is to start shopping for a new plan once that notice arrives.Luckily, rates are still low. So, this is the perfect time to shop Houston electricity companies for a new plan. Taking advantage of free nights & weekends plans is a breeze at If fact, you can shop any time to see if there’s a plan that beats the price you currently pay. You can sign up for your free nights & weekends plan today! 

Zip Codes with the Cheapest Direct Energy Rates in Texas