Economy 7 tariffs explained

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Are you a night owl? Because if you are, many UK energy suppliers offer a tariff for those who live for the night. 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. If you are looking to compare energy plans, it is possible that the Economy 7 meter might be the right choice for you.
Last update: May 2021

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.

If you have storage heaters, or run your appliances at night, switching to Economy 7 could save you money. Keep reading to find out if this dual tariff is right for you. And, if it’s not, give our experts a call at the number above! They will be able to help you find the best plan for your specific needs.

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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%
Water heater 14%
Lighting 12%
Washer and Dryer 13%
Refrigerator 4%
Electric oven 3-4%
TV 3%
Dishwasher 2%
Computer 1%

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.
economy 7

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.

More information on comparing energy plans

  1. Fixed energy tariffs
  2. Fixed or variable energy tariff
  3. Energy online
  4. Variable energy tariff
  5. Call us to switch your energy supplier for free!

    0330 054 0017

    Available Monday to Friday from 8.30 am until 5.30 pm

Updated on 23 Jul, 2021

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