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Economy 7 is a type of electricity tariff offered by a large number of UK energy suppliers. It’s officially known as a Differential Plan and is designed for people who use most of their electricity at night.
Last update: January 2021
More than ever, our team of experts remain on deck to help you make savings on your energy. We understand how deeply the lives of many are affected by these trying times and we want to support you the best we can. More on your energy supply during COVID-19 in our article.
Customers on an economy 7 tariff will pay two different rates for their electricity, one for the day and one for the night. The night-time tariff available to Economy 7 users is significantly lower than standard energy rates, in some cases, by up to 50%. However the daytime rates Economy 7 customers use are generally more expensive than standard. This means the tariff is really only suitable for those who use the majority of their energy at night.
Is Economy 7 cheaper than standard energy rates?
The night-time rates offered on Economy 7 tariffs are generally significantly cheaper than standard energy rates. However, the price you’ll pay for your energy during the day is often a lot higher than standard. This means that, unless you use more than 50% of your energy at night, an Economy 7 tariff is likely to be more expensive than a standard energy deal.
Economy 7 times
The reason the tariff is called Economy 7 is that customers get seven hours of cheap energy during the night. Exact times vary between suppliers but, in general, times run from around midnight to 7am. When the clocks change, your cheaper rate time is likely to change too, so make sure you check with your supplier to find out exactly when cheaper rates apply.
Customers are able to access cheaper energy rates at night as this is when demand is at its lowest. This means there’s more electricity available and it can be sold off at a lower rate. Economy 7 tariffs take advantage of this lower rate and enable customers who use more energy at night to save money.
Is Economy 7 right for me?
When you see the night-time rates available to Economy 7 customers, it can be tempting to make a switch. However, before switching to an Economy 7 tariff, it’s important to understand what’s on offer and work out if the tariff is right for you.
The tariff is largely aimed at people who use the majority of their energy during off-peak hours. For example, those with storage heaters and pre-programmed water heaters.
If your boiler runs on gas and you tend not to use your appliances between midnight and 7am, this probably isn’t the right tariff for you. Daytime energy rates on Economy 7 deals are higher than standard electricity tariffs. This means that switching to the plan could actually be more expensive if you tend to use more than 50% of your energy during the day.
If you’re not sure when you use the most energy, take a minute to think about the appliances that require the most electricity. If you run these mainly during the day, the tariff probably isn’t right for you. On average, the most electricity-hungry appliances are:
|Percentage of energy used in the hom|
|Cooling and heating||47%|
|Washer and Dryer||13%|
As heating and cooling consume by far the most energy, the Economy 7 tariff is ideal for those who have storage heaters and so use a lot of electricity at night. If your heating or cooling system isn’t on between midnight and 7am, and you don’t run any other appliances at this time, the tariff may well end up costing you more.
How to save money with Economy 7
If you’re on an Economy 7 tariff, or if you’re thinking of making a switch, planning your energy usage will help you to save money. The best way to save money on an Economy 7 tariff is to run your heating or cooling system during off-peak hours. Other good ways to save cash are:
- Set timers on your washing machine and dryer to come on after midnight
- Place high energy appliances on a separate circuit that’s set to come on during off-peak hours
- Use a slow cooker to prepare food overnight
- Programme your water heater to come on at night
- Charge gadgets at night
- Check your meter every time you get a bill
- Call your supplier if your energy bill is unusually high
How do I know if I have an Economy 7 meter?
When you sign up to an Economy 7 tariff, you’ll need to have a new meter installed. Unlike standard meters, an Economy 7 meter is able to tell when you’re using energy at night and when you’re using it during the day. This allows your provider to charge you two different rates, one for peak time use and one for off-peak energy consumption.
Some people may well be on an Economy 7 tariff without realising it. If you’re unsure if you’ve already made the switch, you can find out by checking your meter or your bills. As Economy 7 rates are different at night, they should be listed separately on your bill. If you can see two different rates, one labelled standard, or daytime and one labelled off-peak or night-time, you probably already have an Economy 7 tariff.
You can also check by taking a look at your meter. Your Economy 7 meter reading, like your bill, should list two separate values. If there’s only one showing, you’re probably still on a standard tariff.
How to switch to Economy 7
If you think you could save money by switching to an Economy 7 tariff, we can help. Our Switch Plan will compare prices from all available Economy 7 suppliers to find you the best deal. Call 0330 054 0017 to find out more.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to switch provider, you can simply get in touch with them to see if they can offer you an Economy 7 deal. If you’re happy with the tariff available, they’ll send an engineer round to install a new meter and then you’ll be ready to go.
Available Monday to Friday from 9am until 7pm
Available Monday to Friday from 9am until 7pm
Can you switch from Economy 7 back to a standard rate?
Economy 7 tariffs aren’t right for everyone. If your circumstances change and you no longer use the majority of your energy at night, a standard rate may well be a better option for your household.
If you’re on an economy 7 tariff and want to switch back to a standard plan, you’ll need to get in touch with your energy supplier. In order to switch back to a standard deal, you’ll probably need to get a new meter installed. Some energy suppliers may charge a fee for the installation of a new meter.
If you don’t want to stick with your current supplier, or if you just want to see what other deals are available, compare tariffs using an impartial comparison site or call our Switch Plan on 0330 054 0017.
⏳ Is Economy 7 going to be phased out?
As fewer households use night storage heaters, the demand for Economy 7 tariffs is falling. As a result, some suppliers no longer offer the deals. However, there are still plenty of energy companies with Economy 7 tariffs available, so if you think this type of tariff is right for you, finding a deal should be easy.
Will Economy 7 save me money?
If you have storage heaters or already use most of your energy at night, there’s a good chance an Economy 7 tariff will save you money. However, as daytime rates on Economy 7 tariffs are generally higher than standard, it’s very important to be aware of when you use the majority of your energy. If you run energy-hungry appliances during the day and use little electricity at night, switching to an Economy 7 deal could well cost you more.
Is there an economy 7 tariff for gas?
As gas is generally used for cooking and instantly heating water, most households consume the majority of their gas during the day. As a result, there aren’t any Economy 7 deals available for gas.
Updated on 22 Jan, 2021