Economy 7 is an energy price plan that charges a cheaper rate for electricity for seven night-time hours than during the rest of the day.
This means that for seven hours each night the unit costs for your electricity will be lower than the unit costs you pay during the remaining seventeen hours – it’s vital you plan your electricity usage around these hours, else you could end up paying more for your energy.
As you may have already guessed, the tariff is called Economy 7 as it offers seven ‘off-peak’ hours during which you can get cheaper electricity.
Similarly, there’s an Economy 10 plan that offers ten hours of cheaper electricity. Unlike Economy 7 though, which is only available during night-time hours, Economy 10 tariffs, also known as Heatwise, can also include off-peak hours during the afternoon, evening or very early morning.
The exact times your Economy 7 tariff starts and stops will depend where you live and which energy supplier you’re with, but will most likely be a consecutive seven-hour period between 10.30pm and 8.30am.
If you’re unsure of the exact times of your off-peak hours, check your latest energy bill or give your supplier a call.
Check your latest electricity bill to find out if you’re on Economy 7 – if your meter point access number (MPAN) begins with ‘02’ and you have two different rates, one for night and one for day, then you’ll be on Economy 7.
If you don’t have a bill to hand, you can check your electricity meter – if it displays two sets of numbers, one of which is marked ‘high’ and the other ‘low’, or there’s a set of numbers marked ‘day rate’ and you get the night reading by pressing a red button, then you’re on Economy 7.
If you’re still not sure, give your energy supplier a call.
Although there's no specific Economy 7 smart meter available, if you're currently using an Economy 7 meter, you can still have a smart meter fitted and set up in an Economy 7 setting.
In order to make sufficient savings with an Economy 7 tariff, you’ll have to make sure at least 40% of your electricity usage takes place during the night time ‘off-peak' hours.
Economy 7 tariffs actually charge more for energy used during the daytime hours than a standard energy plan would, and so are best suited to households that are usually empty and not using any appliances during daytime hours.
If you work shifts or late in to the evening, then Economy 7 could be a good fit for you – the important thing is that the plan fits in with your routine and lifestyle - if not, then you’ll most likely end up paying more for your energy.
If your house has electric storage heaters and a hot water tank, it’s worth considering Economy 7 as you can use the off-peak electricity hours to ‘charge' the storage heaters and heat all of your hot water for the following day.
In short, the more electricity you use at night, and the less you use in the day, the more money you’ll save.
If you’re not currently on Economy 7, but think it could work out cheaper for you, here’s how to make the switch.
Enter your postcode on our energy switching page, check ‘Yes’ when asked ‘Do you have Economy 7’, enter an estimate of roughly what percentage of your household energy is used overnight, and you’ll then be shown a breakdown of the cheapest Economy 7 deals around.
Then simply pick a deal and contact the supplier directly and asked to be switch to Economy 7 – it’s worth noting that it if you don’t already have an Economy 7 meter installed, you will need to have one fitted, and you may be charged for it.
If you have a smart meter, you’ll be able to use this for Economy 7, and so won’t need to have a new meter installed.
If Economy 7 isn’t working out for you, you’ll need to contact your energy supplier to find out how to make the switch, and whether you’ll need to have a new meter installed or can carry on using the existing one. Again, if you need a new meter, you may be charged for installation.
And whether or not you decide to go with Economy 7, check out energy saving tips page for some simple ways to reduce your energy usage and cut your bills.