You may have heard of the term off-peak energy before, leaving you wondering if electricity is cheaper at night
The short answer is that most energy suppliers charge the same rate for electricity use throughout the day. However, some electricity tariffs offer a cheaper prices for using electricity at certain off-peak times during the night on certain types of energy contracts.
Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariffs
Customers on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff will benefit from ‘off-peak’ hours of electricity. During off-peak hours you will pay less for the electricity units you use at night.
Economy 7 tariffs allow you to benefit from 7 hours of off-peak hours per day, while Economy 10 tariffs allow you to benefit from 10 hours of off-peak rates per day.
The exact hours of off-peak hours vary by supplier, but generally are between 10pm and 8am.
These tariffs are only worthwhile for people who use the majority of their electricity overnight, as the ‘peak’ hours during the daytime are more expensive than a standard fixed rate tariff. But, if you do consume most of your energy at night, they will save you money.
Before committing to an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff, everyone in your household needs to be on board. By using a lot of energy during peak times, you can quickly lose the benefits of the money you save during off-peak hours. They require your household to forward plan and commit to charging and running appliances and storage heater water tanks predominantly at night to be cost-effective.
Because Economy 7 and Economy 10 tariffs only apply to electricity, they mean you cannot take advantage of dual fuel contracts. This tends to put off some savvy customers, as it is difficult to compare prices between a standard dual fuel contract and an Economy 7 or 10 tariff.
It is worth noting that you will be required to install a meter for an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff which will show you two different readings, for your ‘peak’ usage and ‘off-peak’.
Understanding Peak vs. Off-Peak Electricity Times
Off-peak times vary slightly depending on the supplier, but they are usually between 10pm and 8am. This is when the least energy is taken from the grid and so energy suppliers can afford to offer cheaper prices.
Peak time is during the day. The unit price for an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff will be higher during the day than on a normal energy contract. You need to check with your energy supplier what the specific hours are for their tariff.
Benefits of Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariffs
The main benefits of Economy 7 and Economy 10 tariffs will be for those who use the majority of their electricity at night as the unit price will be reduced.
For example, if you run a business that is most active at night, or charge electric vehicles at your home or business, or have storage heaters for your water or home you could benefit from reduced off-peak tariff rates.
Many of us are guilty of leaving our appliances plugged in, even when fully charged, or on standby. The Energy Saving Trust estimates this costs the average home at least £35 every year. By committing to charging and running your appliances predominantly overnight, you will reduce your bills with an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff.
The cost of running a standard washing machine is £24 a year for an average household, this goes down to £12 a year on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff so a saving of 50%.
However, if you are not using the majority of your electricity during the night, be aware that the unit rate of energy during the day is more expensive. Before you get one of these tariffs it is worth checking to monitor your current energy usage. Installing a smart meter can help you understand your energy consumption.
Many Economy 7 and Economy 10 tariffs will require you to install a special smart meter that will measure how much energy you use at specific times of the day and this can help you monitor how much energy you are using and become more energy efficient.
If you are not sure if you are currently on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff, check a recent energy bill.
Using electrical appliances at night
With an Economy 7 or 10 tariff, it does make sense to use appliances overnight safely. These tariffs are therefore ideal for customers who use the majority of their energy at night, particularly if you have an electric car that you charge at home or storage heaters.
Equally, using your appliances such as your dishwasher, washing machine and other high-energy usage appliances at night on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff will also save you an estimated 50% on your energy bills, assuming you commit to using them during off-peak hours.
Finally, a word of warning, every year there are over 7,000 house fires as a result of faulty wiring or overloaded sockets so make sure you check your appliances regularly, particularly white goods, and don’t overload extension cords or sockets. If a fire breaks out during the night, it is more likely to go unnoticed.
Switch to an off-peak electricity tariff with Love Energy Savings
At Love Energy Savings, we make comparing off-peak electricity prices simple. Using our innovative energy comparison calculator, you can compare the best Economy 7 and Economy 10 from a wide range of energy suppliers.
To find out how much you could save by switching, simply complete our online comparison tool here.
If you’d like more information on how to save money on your energy bills, take a look at our latest energy guides and advice.