What is Economy 7?

Our guide tells you everything you need to know about Economy 7.


What is an Economy 7 tariff?

Economy 7 refers to a type of both tariffs and meters. An Economy 7 electricity tariff is one that gives you lower rates at night and more expensive ones during the day. Economy 7 tariffs are used alongside Economy 7 meters, which help to determine the price per kWh according to the time of day. Here you’ll find everything you need to know regarding Economy 7 tariffs.

How does the Economy 7 tariff work?

Economy 7 daytime consumption

You’ll need to have the Economy 7 meter specially installed, which is specifically designed to track the electricity you consume during the day and night separately. The different rate per kWh means customers will be rewarded for their preservation of energy and is a good way for energy-conserving consumers to save money on their annual bill.

Economy 7 night-time consumption

The cheaper rate usually runs between midnight and 7am, with the more expensive rate covering the rest of the day. However, precise timings and cost can vary depending on your supplier. For those who are out for longer periods during the day and therefore use less energy during the higher rate per kWh period, the Economy 7 tariff would be an appropriate choice. 

How does Economy 7 compare to a standard energy tariff? 

If you’ve decided to switch to a standard energy tariff there is a chance you’re already price-conscious and looking to save money. For someone who is willing to make sacrifices and change their habits, you could end up saving money using an Energy 7 tariff. However, if you’re not willing to adapt to get the most out of your Economy 7 meter, such as waking up at the crack of dawn to wash your clothes before the higher rate kicks in past 7 am, then it probably isn’t for you. 

What is an Economy 7 meter?  

It’s simple to find out if you have an Economy 7 meter, as they’re made in a specific way to adapt to an Economy 7 tariff. The meter has two sets of numbers, one marked “low”, which means night and “normal”, which refers to day.  

Your meter may also have a number marked “day rate” alongside a red button that you push to get your night rate.

Can you get a smart meter with an Economy 7 tariff?

You can get a smart meter combined with an Economy 7 tariff, but it’s worth noting that not all suppliers offer this. Depending on which supplier you’re with, this will be either easy or a bit of a hassle, though it’s worth shopping around and comparing with Energy Helpline to see what sort of benefits different tariffs offer.

If you have an Economy 7 smart meter, you’ll be able to see separate readings for peak and off-peak use using the display. Of course, the main benefit of having a smart meter is that it sends the readings to your supplier automatically, with an Economy 7 smart meter being no different.

Will Economy 7 help me save money?

As mentioned above, Economy 7 is not for everyone. Whether or not you save money will depend on the following factors:

Electricity usage

Economy 7 - electricity usage

To save money using an Economy 7 tariff you would have to use more than 40% of your electricity during the night to make switching worthwhile. Be aware that some Economy 7 tariffs charge almost double the night rate during the day, making any benefits of having cheaper energy at night completely void.

Economy 7 - electricity usage

Heating and water usage

For energy customers who have electric storage heaters, the Economy 7 tariff is an ideal option as they can be heated overnight and used to give off heat the following day. 

Appliance type

Once again, the time of day you use your appliances is going to determine whether or not the Economy 7 tariff is for you. If you have appliances that allow you to set them to come on at a specific time during the seven-hour period at night, you’ll be able to make the most of the cheaper rate per kWh. 

Electric vehicle usage

Economy 7 - electric vehicle usage

If you have made the sustainable choice and have bought yourself an electric car, then the Economy 7 tariff is the perfect choice for you. You’ll be able to charge your car overnight - which you’d presumably do anyway - and benefit from cheaper electricity. There are actually some Economy 7 tariffs tailored to people who own electric vehicles, so if you’re an EV owner, be sure to keep an eye out if you’re serious about switching.

How does the price cap affect Economy 7 tariffs?

If you have an Economy 7 tariff, you’ll still be protected by the energy price cap that Ofgem enforces. Your supplier will still be required to let you know if your tariff is changing in a way that negatively affects you, or if the tariff you’re on is no longer available.

How do I switch to an Economy 7 tariff? 

If you’ve already heard enough and you’re convinced switching to an Economy 7 tariff is for you, then follow these simple steps on how to switch with Energy Helpline: 

  1. Get started by entering your postcode.
  2. Where it says ‘Do you have an Economy 7 Meter?’, tick ‘Yes’, fill in the rest of the fields and continue.
  3. A range of the cheapest Economy 7 tariffs will be shown for you to compare. Select the one that suits you best. Bear in mind, installation fees for the Economy 7 tariff may apply.

Can I switch from Economy 7 to standard tariff?

It is possible to switch from an Economy 7 tariff to a standard one, but the process could be complicated depending on your situation. This is mainly because once an Economy 7 meter has been installed, you may need to pay for it to be uninstalled if you decide to switch back to a standard tariff.  

If you’re an Economy 7 customer, you’ll be able to compare your current package to other Economy 7 tariffs, allowing you to switch in the same way you normally would.

Economy 7: The verdict

There’s no saying whether or not the Economy 7 tariff is good or bad - it comes down to a lifestyle choice. So if you feel like we’ve given you enough information to make an informed decision about whether or not switching to an Economy 7 tariff is the right move for you, go ahead and do so today. Check out our energy comparison service to help you find the best offers on the market right now.

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