If you’re on an Economy 7 tariff, you’ll have a special meter that records two different readings: one for electricity used during the day, and one for electricity used at night. The night period lasts for seven hours (hence Economy ‘7’), but when it actually takes place will depend on your energy supplier. For some regions, the night period (also known as ‘off peak period’) is 12.30am-7.30am, whereas some energy companies adapt their off peak period depending on the season. So in winter it may fall between 11pm-6am and then 12am-7pm during the summer.
If you’re not on an Economy 7 tariff but would like to be, you can ask your energy supplier to install an Economy 7 meter for you, but bear in mind there may be a cost involved. You also need to make sure you are able to take full advantage of the night time period, because electricity used during the peak period can be significantly more expensive and wipe out any savings you might otherwise make. This means running washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers at night, which might not be ideal for the rest of the occupants in your house!
Economy 7 tariffs are most suitable for people with storage heaters and hot water tanks which can be heated up at night and used later, but you might find that this doesn’t provide enough heat to see you through the next day. So unless you can be disciplined about your energy use, this may mean sacrificing long baths for shorter showers, and hot radiators for thick jumpers and blankets!
If you’re on an Economy 7 tariff but find it doesn’t work for you, you can switch back to a standard tariff at any time – just speak to your energy company.