Multi-Rate Meters - Understanding Two-Rate and Three-Rate Meters


Multi-rate meters (sometimes referred to as two-rate meters or economy 7) mean that you will pay different rates for your business electricity depending on when you use it.

What You Need to Know About Multi-Rate Meters

Multi-rate meters (sometimes referred to as two-rate meters or economy 7) mean that you will pay different rates for your business electricity depending on when you use it. This usually means that you’ll have a separate day rate and a cheaper off-peak night rate.


Multi-rate meters are useful for businesses operating outside of typical peak usage hours. For example, a restaurant, nightclub club or distribution centre may benefit from an economy of 7 meters.


Economy 7/ multi-rate meters have also been growing in popularity for home energy customers, although mainly beneficial to certain types of business energy users. 

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What Is A Multi-Rate Meter? 

Multi-rate meters facilitate tariffs that offer multiple rates for energy depending on the time the energy is used. Whilst we’re more familiar with an Economy 7 tariff, there are also Economy 10 and even three-rate meter tariffs.


What Is An Economy 7 Tariff? 

Economy 7 charges two different rates. This energy tariff offers a cheaper off-peak night rate for 7 hours of each 24-hour period. Usually, the day rate is higher than standard fixed-rate tariffs. Timings of the cheaper off-peak vary depending on the energy supplier chosen.


What Is An Economy 10 Tariff? 

An Economy 10 tariff charges two different rates. The energy tariff offers a cheaper off-peak night rate for 10 hours of each 24-hour period. The day rate will usually be higher than other tariffs on the market so it is only suitable for certain types of energy users.


What Is A Three-Rate Meter Tariff? 

A three-rate energy tariff is very attractive to business energy users given that there are three separate unit prices for daytime, weekends and nights. Weekends and nights will have a cheaper business energy rate, ideal for retail, pubs, nightclubs and restaurants to name a few.


Does My Business Need A Multi-Rate Meter? 

Many businesses can benefit from a multi-rate meter depending on the type of business and their core operating hours. Companies that primarily operate during the evenings, night time and weekends will benefit from cheaper business electricity rates by installing a multi-site meter with the view of selecting a multi-rate tariff.


Even though every business is different, we can make some assumptions about certain industries. For example, multi-rate meters are extremely popular in the hospitality industry because of their core operating hours.


What Are The Benefits Of A Multi-Rate Meter? 

Businesses that operate outside of normal 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours may benefit from cheaper business electricity rates. Despite higher energy prices during the day, the night and weekend rates will be significantly cheaper depending on the type of tariff you choose.


Before signing up for any business energy contract, it is important to take some time to understand how your business uses gas and electricity. This ensures you’re signing up for the right tariff that will help you reduce your business energy bills.


Can I Use My Normal Meter With An Economy 7 Tariff? 

You must install a multi-rate meter to sign up for any tariff that charges multiple rates. This is because a multi-rate meter has the capability to record two or three-meter readings to accurately bill you for energy used. Standard and even smart meters are not capable of this.


Are There Any Disadvantages To Multi-Rate Meters? 

You need to be sure that installing a multi-rate meter is right for your business. As day rates are typically more expensive, you will only benefit from multi-rate tariffs if you use a lot of energy during off-peak times.


If you want to switch back to any other tariff in the future, you will need to have your multi-rate meter decommissioned to install a new standard or smart meter.


Do Multi-Rate Tariffs Have A Fixed Energy Price? 

At the beginning of the contract, your energy supplier will agree on all rates with you and these will remain fixed for the amount of time you agree to. These work like a fixed-rate tariff with the difference being that you will have multiple fixed rates for different times of the day.


Is My Business Eligible For A Multi-Rate Meter? 

Most businesses are eligible for a multi-rate meter. However, they are only advised for companies who operate during off-peak hours.


Larger consumption businesses may be required to have a half-hourly meter installed. These are for companies who use more than 100 kWh of electricity within any 30-minute period. These meters will send automatic meter readings every 30 minutes to the energy supplier to ensure accurate billing.


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