Economy 7 Electricity
What is Economy 7 and how does it work?
An Economy 7 meter records your usage on 2 rates – a day time rate and a cheaper night rate. So any electricity you use during a set 7 hour period at night typically costs about 40% of what it would during the day.
If you have an Economy 7 meter, you don’t have to have an Economy 7 tariff. If it works out best for you on a non-Economy 7 tariff, we’d simply add your day and night units together to give us 1 single usage figure. So you won’t even need to change your meter.
But it’s worth looking into whether you could be better off on one of our other Economy 7 tariffs, and planning when you use your electricity to make the most of the cheaper night time rate.Get a Quote
To have an Economy 7 tariff you’ll need to have a 2 rate meter that records your day and night electricity usage separately. Unlike a standard tariff meter, it’ll give you a reading for each.
If it’s an older Economy 7 meter you’ll see both readings on the front. If it’s been installed quite recently, it’ll probably show you one or the other on an electronic screen - you’ll have to press a button to switch between your day and night readings.
2-rate meter with mechanical timeswitch
Electronic meter with single display
The night time hours when your electricity usage is on the Economy 7 cheaper rate will be a 7 hour period somewhere between 10pm and 8.30am - it depends where you live, and what type of meter you have. It may also change at different times of the year. For example - when the clocks go forward in spring, and when they go back in the autumn.
The best way to find out your exact Economy 7 hours is to look at your supply number, which you’ll find on your bill:
Take the first 2 digits of the example supply number above, and check against the map below. You’ll see that this customer’s night hours (in the London region) will be from 23:00 until 07:00.
If you need more help please get in touch with us on 0800 073 3000 or 0330 100 3000 (view call charge information)
In North Scotland, South Wales and the South West, each meter will have its own settings, but your night hours should be shown on your meter, or somewhere next to it.
To make sure Economy 7 is right for you, we recommend that you have electric storage heaters to heat your home, and use an immersion heater for your hot water.
Any electricity you use during the day will cost you more than it would on our standard single rate tariff. So if there are people at home using electricity during the day and you don’t have storage heaters or a hot water tank, then Economy 7 probably won’t be for you.
If you heat your home and water with gas, Economy 7 could still suit your lifestyle – so long as you use most of your electricity at night. For example, if you work shift patterns and are up during the night. Or if you don’t tend to use much electricity during the day.
Calculate your usage
Find out if your night usage is suited to Economy 7 with our calculator below.
Here are our top tips to help you to get the most out of Economy 7:
- Heat your water economically overnight by using an immersion heater with a timeswitch controller
- Economy 7 works well with storage heaters that are set to come on at night while you’re on the cheaper rate. This‘ll help keep your heating costs down
- You’ll get the most benefit if your home is well insulated
- Use plug-in or in-built timers to set your electrical appliances like washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers to come on overnight – while you’re on the cheaper rate
To do the calculation you’ll need to already be on Economy 7 and have either your Annual Statement or bills to hand. These will show you how much electricity you’ve used in the last 12 months. It needs to be a full 12 months because your summer and winter electricity usage may vary.
% night usage calculation
- Take a look at your annual electricity predicted costs which you can find on your annual statement.
- Step 1 – Select whether you pay by Direct debit, Prepayment or Cash/cheque
- Step 2 – Enter your day units in kWh
- Step 3 – Enter your night units in kWh
- Step 4 – Select your region
- Step 5 – Press 'Calculate' and you’ll see the % of electricity you use at night
How much electricity do I have to use at night to make Economy 7 worthwhile?
Depending on where you live, we advise that you’d have to use at least 27% to 36% of your electricity during off-peak times for it to be worth you having an Economy 7 meter instead of a standard single rate meter. This is based on a customer on our standard tariff with medium consumption of 4,300 kWh a year, as defined by Ofgem in its Typical Domestic Consumption Values. It will vary according to your actual usage, payment method and tariff.