Economy 10 is a UK electricity plan, officially known as a ‘differential tariff’, that can help you pay less for your electricity. Basically, you pay normal prices most of the time, but cheaper rates during other ‘off-peak’ times. These off-peak times are specified by the energy provider and are spread across the day. Altogether they will add up to 10 hours during each 24-hour period - which is why the plan is known as Economy 10.
The off-peak unit prices available with an Economy 10 plan are often half the standard amount – so if you use appliances like dishwashers, slow cookers or washing machines during these off-peak times, it could help you cut your energy bills. However, you will need to be careful and disciplined about your energy use, because unit rates for energy you use outside these ten hours can be higher than usual.
It’s one of several different plans offered by energy companies – you can read more in our ‘Energy Tariffs Explained’ post.
In Scotland, energy companies provide white meters for off-peak rates, so the plan is known as ‘White meters’ rather than Economy 10.
Many people believe that electricity always automatically costs less during the night or at other off-peak times, but this is not the case. Normal meters can’t tell the difference between peak and off-peak times. You need to sign up for Economy 10 and get a special meter installed.
Economy 10 times differ depending on where you live and which energy supplier you’re with.
For example, there could be:
Scottish customers are more likely to get:
Some areas and Economy 10 electricity suppliers change these times when the clocks go back or forward – so your afternoon hours could be 2pm to 5pm during British Summer Time and 1pm to 4pm in the winter during Greenwich Mean Time. Other suppliers may not change the hours. Either way it could mean that for six months of the year the off-peak hours are less suitable for you.
It depends how much of your electricity you can use at off-peak times. Because the peak time rate is higher than normal to balance out the off-peak rate, some people find Economy 10 actually works out more expensive. So do check carefully before you commit to switching.
It also depends what kind of heating and hot water system you have. With Economy 10, electric storage heaters and a hot water tank are a good combination, because you can charge them up during the night and use the heat and hot water in the daytime. Economy 10 can also work well if you use gas for your heating and hot water, but electricity for your appliances and lighting.
However, if you have old storage heaters that need seven hours of continuous power to build up enough heat overnight, remember that they’ll probably only get five hours of off-peak night-time energy with Economy 10.
You also need to consider:
To find out if you’re already registered for Economy 10 electricity in the UK, have a look at your electricity or dual fuel bill. If your electricity seems to be charged at two different rates, you could be on Economy 10 (or you might be on Economy 7, a similar plan).
You can also check by looking at your electricity meter – see the next question.
If you’re still not sure, simply telephone your electricity or dual fuel energy company and ask them.
If you’re already on Economy 10, you’ll have an Economy 10 meter with two sets of numbers, labelled ‘low’ or ‘normal’.
No. That’s because gas is mostly used for cooking, heating and hot water – not for appliances like dishwashers or washing machines that you can choose to use mainly at night.
It’s not completely straightforward because you’ll need to have a new meter installed, and you may have to pay for this service. Get in touch with your energy supplier to ask them how long it would take and what you’d have to pay.
Get in touch with your Economy 10 electricity suppliers. You’ll probably need to have a new meter installed, and there may be a charge for this. They will also ask you some questions about your circumstances and energy use, to make sure you meet their criteria for switching to a normal plan.
If you don’t think Economy 10 would reduce your bills, here are some other cost-cutting suggestions.
The best way to use less energy and reduce your bills is to make sure your home and all your electrical appliances are working as efficiently as possible.
If you insulate your roof and walls, improve your heating system and generally be quite careful, you can save around £300 a year. You’ll also cut your home’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by around 1.5 tonnes – so you’re helping the planet, too.
Here are our top ten ways to become more energy efficient:
No matter which energy company you’re currently with, it’s always worth checking the market regularly to see if you could save money by switching.
At OVO, we know that price matters – that’s why we keep our costs down, to help you save. You'll also get our 3% OVO Interest Reward on any credit in your account.
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