Could you save with an Economy 10 tariff?
What is Economy 10?
Economy 10 Tariffs (sometimes referred to as "Heatwise") give you 10 hours of off-peak electricity, which are charged at a discounted rate.
Economy 10 meters are not as widely supported by energy suppliers as standard and Economy 7 meters. So if you’re currently on an Economy 10 meter, you may find that you have fewer options available when you’re looking to switch.
What are the best Economy 10 deals?
It’s not currently possible to compare Economy 10 deals on UKPower. But, if you want to switch your Economy 10 tariff, keep reading.
How does Economy 10 work?
Economy 10 gives you the same and electricity as any other tariff, but your energy will cost less during 10 off-peak hours of the day.
The Economy 10 discounted rates are usually available during seven hours at night, and three hours during the day.
The structure of the 10 off peak hours is:
- Three hours in the afternoon
- Two hours in the evening
- Five hours over night
The specific time of the designated off-peak hours can vary for each supplier and region, so it’s best to ask the supplier directly for the precise times. While Economy 10 tariffs charge unit rates of up to half the price of peak rates, the standing charges can often be higher.
Not all suppliers offer Economy 10 tariffs. Suppliers that don’t offer them could move you onto their Economy 7 tariff, but this may or may not be beneficial for you. You would need to weigh up the unit rates against the amount of energy you use during the specified discounted hours.
Could you save money with Economy 10?
To make the most of an Economy 10 tariff, your home should have an electric heating system rather than gas.
You should use most of your energy during the off-peak hours, which means having your heating on and using your appliances during the night and late evening.
For this reason, Economy 10 tariffs work best if you have storage heaters or underfloor heating, where heat can be built up overnight and released during the day.
Electric storage heaters let you heat up water overnight and keep it hot during the day. But bear in mind that while the water will be hot first thing in the morning, it may have cooled down by the time you get home from work in the evening.
As Economy 10 tariffs typically only offer five hours of heat at night (plus three in the afternoon and two in the evening), this may not be suitable for older storage heaters, as they usually need seven hours of continuous heating to store enough heat.
You’ll also need to make sure your major appliances, like your washing machine, dishwasher and tumble dryer, have timer settings so they can be on at night.
On that note, think about where you keep your appliances - it’s no good having a washing machine with a timer if it’s kept next to your bedroom, and will wake you up during the night.
What are the disadvantages of Economy 10?
The main problem with Economy 10 is when it comes to switching. Taking into account the cost of having a standard meter installed, it could be expensive to switch to a non-Economy 10 tariff in the future.
You also have to be more disciplined with Economy 10 tariffs, and make sure you use most of your energy during the designated off-peak times. If you end up using a lot of energy outside these times, the higher standing charges could mean you end up paying more than you should.
Although it can be fairly straightforward to schedule your energy use, it can be more difficult during the colder winter months, as you may want the heating to come on sooner.
Finally, the off-peak times on an Economy 10 tariff vary from supplier to supplier and region to region. This means that if you switch from one Economy 10 plan to another, you may need to get an engineer to reprogram your meter.
Is the Economy 10 tariff right for you?
Economy 10 is classed as a ‘comfort tariff’ and could actually work out more expensive than an Economy 7 or regular electricity tariff if you use energy during peak times.
This is beacuse peak electricity can cost twice as much as off-peak electricity, which means, in order to be cost-effective, the majority of your electricity usage should fall within the designated off-peak periods.
You'll get the most from an Economy 10 tariffs if:
- You only use electricity that doesn't use gas for energy.
- You have electric wet radiators, underfloor heating or storage heaters, which allow heat to be retained and then released as the day progresses. A timer is used to switch the heating on and off in conjunction with the off-peak times.
- You use at least 20% of your energy during the specified off-peak times.
- You're disciplined about your energy use, and can develop and stick to a routine.
- Your home is empty during the daytime and you use most energy at night – while benefiting from the flexibility of an additional off-peak period during the afternoon.
- You have timers on major appliances such as the washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher so they only turn on during the off-peak periods.
- You don't have an older storage heater – these tend to require seven hours of continuous heating to store enough heat, which is not possible with an Economy 10 tariff.
When factoring in costs, you’ll also need to consider that the standing charges for Economy 10 tariffs are often higher than that for other tariffs.