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Smart Electricity Grid Reaches Texas

Jan 19, 2010 - intelligent utility

The benefits of the smart electricity grid - including detailed information about electricity use and lower rates when demand drops -- are now available to Texas electricity customers with advanced "smart" meters. Reliant Energy is offering two new smart energy services that give customers the tools and information they need to manage their energy usage better - the Reliant Energy Weekly Summary email and Time-Of-Use plan.

The weekly email provides an overview of weekly and daily usage, including a summary of usage and cost, an estimated monthly bill amount and a comparison to the previous week's electricity use. Along with valuable insights into usage, the weekly email is a way for customers to discover how simple changes can save energy and money.

Time-Of-Use is designed to help customers better manage their electricity bill by shifting the times when they use power. Under this plan, the cost of electricity changes during the day based on overall demand for electricity, allowing customers to benefit from making choices about when and how to use electricity. By shifting high-usage activities -- like doing laundry or running the dishwasher -- to lower-priced times, customers may be able to reduce their overall cost.

"Greater energy efficiency starts with better information," said Tom Gros, Senior Vice President of Sales, Reliant Energy. "Customers with advanced meters who take advantage of these new services will have more information about their energy usage and the ability to make decisions that can lower their overall electricity bill."

The Weekly Summary email and Time-Of-Use plan have been offered on a pilot basis since April 2009 and are now available to all Reliant customers in Texas with advanced meters. More than 782,000 consumers in Houston and North Texas have smart meters right now. By the end of 2010, about 1 million consumers in the Houston area and over 1.5 million in North Texas are expected to have smart meters installed by their local utility.

The Weekly Summary email and Time-Of-Use plan are just two innovative energy solutions Reliant is introducing this year to empower customers with advanced digital meters to manage their energy usage better. The company has several other products in pilot, such as the Web View and Home Energy Monitor that will be available to customers with smart meters later this year.

Customers who already have smart meters and are interested in the Weekly Summary email or Time-Of-Use plan can call 1-866-872-6644. Those wanting to know whether they have a smart meter can also call Reliant.

About Reliant Energy:

Reliant Energy provides electricity and energy services to more than 1.6 million retail customers--including homes, small and large businesses, manufacturing facilities, government entities and institutions across Texas. As part of NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), Reliant Energy is backed by one of the nation's largest power producers. NRG owns and operates more than 24,000 megawatts of generation capacity, including more than 11,000 megawatts of capacity in Texas. For more information about Reliant Energy products and services, visit www.reliant.com.

EDITORS NOTE: Please see additional document for more information about the Time-Of-Use plan. Pricing for Time-Of-Use is subject to change Jan. 29.

Reliant Energy Time-Of-Use Pricing

Time-Of-Use offers residential customers lower rates when overall system demand is less, allowing them to save money by shifting usage to off-peak periods.

Demand is generally greater when people are at home and businesses are operating. During winter months, demand is usually highest from 6 to 9, both in the morning and the evening. Because of the need for air-conditioning in the summer, demand is highest during "peak hours" from 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

*Pricing for Time-Of-Use is subject to change Jan. 29.

* Price differences between Houston and North Texas are attributed to variations in transmission and distribution fees charged by different utilities, differences in the wholesale price of electricity between regions and retail market conditions.