Pick Your Free

Reliant looks to the future by offering free electricity and solar options

Flexible plans and free solar, all to keep your world running. Photo by MoMo Productions/Getty

Nearly everyone's energy usage has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but not everyone's needs are the same. That's a big reason why Reliant retooled its "Pick Your Free" offerings this year, providing three different plans with free energy as part of the draw.

The fact that Reliant is the only retail electric provider in Texas to have three free time-of-use options isn't a surprise. The Houston-based company is known for leading innovation in the retail electricity space, and its latest plans only showcase that commitment — all while offering convenience for customers and supporting clean, renewable energy.

"Texas is predicted to be the leader in solar energy within the next five years," says Scott Burns, vice president of innovation and customer experience at Reliant. "We've been a leader in wind for a long time, but as demand for renewable energy grows, our latest product offerings allows consumers to support the growth of solar."

Make It Solar, which is normally a $6.99 monthly add-on to any Reliant plan, is now free with any new Pick Your Free plan sign-up. No solar panels are necessary, and 100 percent of a customer's electricity usage supports renewable energy in Texas and beyond through certified renewable energy certificates, or RECs.

"Younger generations are looking for ways to support cleaner energy and are conscious about who they do business with," says Burns. "We're committed to offering choices that appeal to our customers, so Make It Solar on the house just made sense."

Customers can pick from the new Reliant Truly Free Flex Days or its longstanding Truly Free Weekends and Truly Free Nights.

The first offers free electricity for the two highest-usage days each week (up to eight days a month!). The second provides free electricity every weekend, from 8 pm Friday to 12 am Monday, and the third gives customers free electricity every night from 8 pm to 6 am.

"There is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to any service, including electricity," says Burns. "With the changes the pandemic brought to our lifestyles, we're making it easier than ever for our customers and we're committed to meeting them where they are."

Burns also points out that solar has been slower to grow in Texas, mainly because of its cost. But while wind is generally produced at night, solar runs parallel to the demand for energy.

By offering their customers a free and easy way to experience solar, Reliant's electricity plans are creating more demand for the renewable resource, helping it become more prevalent.

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Sign up for one of the Pick Your Free plans and be automatically upgraded to Make It Solar at no additional cost by visiting Reliant.com or calling 1-866-Reliant.

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Building Houston

 
 

Houston-based medical device and biotech startup Steradian Technologies has been recognized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Photo by Dwight C. Andrews/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

A female-founded biotech startup has announced that it has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Steradian Technologies has developed a breath-based collection device that can be used with diagnostic testing systems. Called RUMI, the device is non-invasive and fully portable and, according to a news release, costs the price of a latte.

“We are extremely honored to receive this award and be recognized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a leader in global health. This funding will propel our work in creating deep-tech diagnostics and products to close the equity gap in global public health," says Asma Mirza, CEO and co-founder of Steradian Technologies, in the release. “The RUMI will demonstrate that advanced technology can be delivered to all areas of the world, ensuring the Global South and economically exploited regions receive access to high-fidelity diagnostics instead of solutions that are ill-suited to the environment.”

RUMI uses novel photon-based detection to collect and diagnose infectious diseases in breath within 30-seconds, per the release, and will be the first human bio-aerosol specimen collector to convert breath into a fully sterile liquid sample and can be used for many applications in direct disease detection.

"As the healthcare industry continues to pursue less invasive diagnostics, we are very excited that the foundation has identified our approach to breath-based sample collection as a standout worthy of their support," says John Marino, chief of product development and co-founder. “We look forward to working with them to achieve our goals of better, faster, and safer diagnostics."

Founded in 2017, Steradian Technologies is funded and supported by XPRIZE, Johnson & Johnson’s Lung Cancer Initiative, JLABS TMCi, Capital Factory, Duke Institute of Global Health, and Johnson & Johnson’s Center for Device Innovation.

The amount granted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was not disclosed. The Seattle-based foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman and co-chaired by Bill Gates and Melinda French Gatess.

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