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    While not everyone is happy about the growing use of smart meters around the country, these devices are certainly allowing for some interesting opportunities in specialized electricity rates. Houston-based electricity provider Direct Energy announced on Monday, March 19, that it plans to introduce two new electricity plans for customers in PPL's service area in Pennsylvania.

    Direct Energy has already successfully introduced Free Power Saturday, which allow customers to use energy for free on a day when demand is traditionally low.

    However, this program has been expanded as Free Power Day to offer customers their choice of any one other day when they would like to receive electricity for free, letting them tailor their plan to their own usage.

    Similarly, the Best Hourly Rate Plan offers customers the chance to take advantage of lower electricity prices when demand is reduced at night and on the weekends.

    "For our customers, convenience and flexibility is important," Cory Byzewski, vice president and general manager for Direct Energy, said in a statement. "No two households use energy in the same way, so by offering time-of-use products that are truly customizable to each and every home, customers are able to manage their electricity costs in a way that works for them and their family."