There is an array of multi-rate meters available so it can be a minefield if you’re not sure what each one offers. To help you gain a better understanding, we’ve broken down what both Economy 7 and Economy 10 offer.
Both Economy 7 and Economy 10 (often referred to as a differential tariff or time of use tariff) differ from your standard energy tariffs. During certain hours of the day, your electricity charge is often reduced considerably – by up to 50% depending on the energy provider.
On the flip side, outside of these times, the rate can be higher than a normal rate. If you are considering these tariffs you need to be careful when you use your electricity-heavy appliances.
What is Economy 7 and Economy 10?
Economy 7 and Economy 10 are electricity tariffs where there are different costs during certain times of the day. They get their name from the number of hours where the off-peak tariff is available; 7 hours for Economy 7, and 10 hours for Economy 10. Economy 7 has one period of off-peak electricity, whereas Economy 10 offers various (usually three) times staggered throughout the day.
What time is the electricity cheaper?
Off-peak hours differ depending on which energy provider you are with, so it’s important to check with them when this is. The times on Economy 7 can also differ depending on the time of year:
- 1:30 am to 8:30 am during BST (British Summer Time)
- 12:30 am to 7:30 am during GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
As there are more off-peak hours with Economy 10, the hours are spread across the day, which may differ depending on the energy provider and time of the year:
- 1 pm – 4 pm
- 8 pm – 10 pm
- 12 am – 5 am
Would Economy 7 or Economy 10 save me money?
If you can use an appliance that consumes a lot of electricity during off-peak times, then yes, Economy 7 and 10 could save you money. This also depends on the central heating system that you have. Storage heaters and hot water tanks are ideal, as you can charge the storage tanks during off-peak hours and use the heating and hot water during the day.
To get the most from using either of these tariffs, you may need to change the way you run your appliances. This can take time but, in the end, you could save money long term.
Do I still need to provide meter readings?
If you’re using either Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariffs, it’s more important than ever to keep up to date with your meter readings as you will be sent an estimated bill if you don’t. These are generally inaccurate as they are an estimated bill and you won’t see the benefits of this meter type.
Will I need a different meter when using these tariffs?
Your meter will need replacing due to there being different charging periods. An updated meter will provide you with different readings that are used for the different charging periods, which are generally labelled as low or normal. If you do decide to move to either of these tariffs you may be charged to have a special meter installed. Subsequently, if you decide to move away from this tariff you may be charged again.
Energy companies may install a new meter for free but you will need to ask the question first to get an answer.
Can I have a smart meter with Economy 7 and Economy 10?
Certain energy providers offer a smart meter that will take into account the different charging periods and display the correct usage and cost. If an energy provider doesn’t offer a smart meter that will take into account the different charging periods, it’s important to shop around and choose a supplier that does.
If you’re thinking about switching to either of these tariffs and would like a smart meter, it’s beneficial to visit a comparison site to find the best supplier for you.
I am using Economy 7 and 10 but want to switch, what do I do?
Speak to your energy provider as you will need to have a standard meter re-installed which could incur a charge. They will discuss the best options for you moving forward to see if switching to a standard tariff is the best option for you.
Everyone is unique in terms of their energy consumption and circumstances. Economy 7 and Economy 10 tariffs are not the right solution for everyone, so don’t think by switching it will save you money. If you can use the majority of your electricity during the off-peak times consistently you can dramatically reduce your energy bill.