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What is the cheapest time to use electricity?

By Energy Company Numbers on November 29, 2016 in Help and advice
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A recent report conducted by the National Infrastructure Commision found that families could save £75 a year if they use their appliances at ‘off-peak’ times. Spread across all families in the UK, that equals a net saving of £8 billion a year.

We estimate that the cost of ‘off-peak’ electricity is some 40 per cent less than the cost of ‘on-peak’ electricity. This means that families can power their appliances, such as their washing machines, for 40 per cent less, simply by choosing a different time of the day to run them.

Which begs the question:

What is the cheapest time to use electricity?

Standard Tariffs

The cheapest time to use electricity on a standard tariff, is between the off-peak hours that your energy supplier offers reduced rates – if they do at all. Those hours are usually from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Off-peak times also often include weekends. Because all suppliers are different, however, you should contact your electricity supplier to confirm between what times they offer reduced rates.

Economy 7 Tariffs

If you are on an ‘economy 7’ tariff, then you get 7 hours of reduced electricity rates a day. Those hours are usually at night, between 2.30am and 7.30am. However, most suppliers adapt those times for winter, and change the hours from the above to 11 p.m. to 6 p.m. If you are unsure about whether you are on an economy 7 tariff, check your meter; economy 7 meters have a reading for day and night.

Economy 10 Tariffs

If you are on an ‘economy 10’ tariff, then you get 10 hours of reduced electricity rates a day. So, you pay ‘off-peak’ prices for 10 hours of the day. Unlike an economy 7 tariff, however, economy 10 tariffs tend to include reduced rates during the day and night. For example, you might get 3 off-peak hours during the day, and 7 off-peak hours at night. Contact your supplier to confirm their rates and times.

Prepayment (pay-as-you-go) Tariffs

With a prepayment tariff, you pay for your electricity before you use it. The main advantage of such a meter is that it allows you to budget easily. The main disadvantage is that you will pay more for your electricity, versus a standard electricity tariff. ‘Off-peak’ hours on prepayment meters are not a guarantee, so you should contact your electricity supplier to find out if you get any at all.

About the Author

Energy Company NumbersView all posts by Energy Company Numbers
Energy Company Numbers is a telephone number directory service dedicated to helping UK consumers keep in touch with their energy suppliers.

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