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Glossary
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Economy 7 electricity
A Guide to Economy 7 Electricity

Economy 7 is the name given to cheaper or more economical electricity tariff applied during a specified night period in the UK. The number 7 within the name refers to the number of hours during which this cheaper electricity tariff operates. The specific times when Economy 7 runs is after midnight for around 7 hours, but this varies between different regions, suppliers, and at different times and seasons of year. There is a difference of approximately a third in price between day and night electricity tariffs, although this varies from supplier to supplier.

Any electrical appliance in use during this Economy 7 period will run at a reduced rate such as fridges, freezers, dishwashers, or washing machines. Some appliances need to be configured to operate and store heat during the cheaper period, such as electric heaters and boilers.

Is Economy 7 good value?

If you can discipline yourself and your family to consume more energy during the night and less during the day, you will generally save money with Economy 7. However, in order to guarantee a good level of savings, it is crucial that you use approximately 20% of your energy consumption in the night. Nowadays, you can log onto the internet to use the various free price comparison services to ascertain which of the gas and electricity suppliers offer the best Economy 7 deals. This will help you decide if Economy 7 provides good overall value as an electricity tariff.

Are there disadvantages to Economy 7?

Some suppliers like may charge you almost twice the standard rate for any energy you use during the day. This will of course immediately cancel out any savings you are planning to make by using Economy 7 at night. Do not be tempted by overly cheap night time rates as there may be a catch!

Another downside of Economy 7 is that, you may not have sufficient hot water to last you throughout the day. Users of Economy 7 may find that there is plenty of hot water in the morning, which has been heated up and stored continually throughout the night, but this situation changes in the evening when most of the hot water may already have been used up. Economy 7 users may find they cannot have a warm bath in the evening and may have to endure a loss of heating and a cold house at the end of the day!

Who benefits from Economy 7?

Households which will gain from Economy 7's electricity tariff include those who:

  • Use most of their electricity and heating at night, for example, professional couples who may be out at work in the day.

  • Heat their homes with electric storage heaters which use electricity at night and release heating during the day.

  • Can time their washing machines and tumble dryers to run at night to make use of the cheaper rates of electricity.

What do I need for Economy 7?

If you have decided to choose Economy 7 to reduce your electricity and heating bills, you will need to be aware of the following before you sign up for this electricity tariff:

  • You will need a meter with two separate registers - one to read night measures and the other to read day measures.

  • You will need a meter that is installed with a timing mechanism to make the switch between day and night. This can take the form of a sort of clock, or a teleswitching system, which makes the switch when it receives a radio signal.

  • Your current electricity supplier can install an Economy 7 meter, but may ask you to pay for the service.

  • The wiring in the house does not need to be altered for Economy 7.

  • The night storage heaters and hot water boilers will remain on the normal electrical circuit, but will switch on when the night electricity tariffis activated.

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