An Economy 7 tariff is an electricity tariff with a different price according to the time of the day. The electricity you use during the night costs less than energy used during the day (per unit). It works like peak and off-peak train fares.
It is called “Economy 7” because you get cheaper electricity for 7 hours every night. Economy 7 starts usually either 11.00pm to 6.00am, 12.00am to 7.00am or 1.00am to 8.00am (it may vary depending on where you live and your energy supplier). Economy 7 tariffs use a specific type of electricity meter. Unlike a standard electricity meter, an Economy 7 meter can monitor the electricity you use during the day and at night separately.
An Economy 7 tariff, is it cheaper?
An Economy 7 tariff might be a cheaper option for you than a standard tariff, it will depend on your usage. Generally, you would need to use more than 40% of your electricity at night to make Economy 7 cost effective. Be careful when you choose an Economy 7 tariff, some Economy 7 plans are almost twice the standard night rate for any electricity used in the day! Basically, the more electricity you use at night and the less you use in the day, the more money you will save with Economy 7.
You are also more likely to save with an Economy 7 tariff if you have electric storage heaters and a hot water tank. Therefore, you can heat up the electric storage heaters overnight so they progressively release the heat the next day and you can heat your hot water overnight too.
Another tip to make the most of an Energy 7 tariff: for appliances that use a lot of electricity such as your dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer; use their timer so you run them overnight, when your electricity is cheaper.
How do I switch to or from Economy 7?
If you don’t have Economy 7 but would like to switch to it, this will involve changing your meter. Contact your electricity supplier and ask them to switch you to Economy 7. You might have to pay to have the meter installed.