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?
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.