What is an Economy 7 tariff?
Are you considering switching to an Economy 7 tariff? Or do you already have one and want to know how to use it effectively?
Economy 7 refers to a type of both tariff and meter. As the name suggests, an Economy 7 electricity tariff offers cheaper prices for 7 hours during the night.
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?
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 charged a cheaper rate during set off-peak hours and higher rate during peak hours.
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?
As you would expect, the main difference between an Economy 7 tariff and a standard tariff is how you are charged for the energy you use.
A standard tariff will have one rate which is charged throughout the day. Your unit rate may change during your contract depending on whether you have a fixed rate tariff or a variable rate tariff.
If you currently use most of your energy at night (or you’re willing to change your habits), you could save money by switching to Economy 7 tariff.
What is an Economy 7 meter?
E7 meters work by tracking the energy you use separately during the day and night. You are then charged using different rates for each of these two periods.
Your rate during off-peak hours will be cheaper but your daytime rate will usually be higher than on a normal tariff – this is why this tariff is not suitable for everyone.
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:
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.
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.
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
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, switching is simple with Energy Helpline.
Simply get started by entering your postcode and you can view a range of the latest deals including Economy 7 tariffs.
It’s worth bearing in mind that if you don’t already have an Economy 7 meter, a new meter will need to be installed by your chosen supplier.
Check out our energy comparison service today to find the Economy 7 tariffs from our trusted panel suppliers.