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What is Economy 7?

Posted on 2 December 2015

If you’ve been looking into switching your energy tariff recently, you may have come across the term Economy 7. This type of energy tariff may or may not be beneficial to you depending on your lifestyle, so make sure you assess all the information carefully before switching.

What is Economy 7?

Economy 7 is a type of electricity tariff where you pay different prices for your electricity during the day and at night. With Economy 7, you’ll receive seven hours of cheaper electricity at night, usually between the hours of 11.00pm and 6.00am or 12.00am and 7.00am.

How does Economy 7 work?

Economy 7 meters work by tracking the electricity you use during the day and at night separately. When you take a meter reading, you’ll need to submit readings for both your day and night electricity usage so your supplier can apply the discount to your night rate.

How do I know if I have Economy 7?

If you’re unsure as to whether you already have an Economy 7 tariff, an easy way to find out is by taking a look at your energy bill. If you already have Economy 7, you will see two different rates for your electricity, one for day and one for night.

You can also check if you have Economy 7 by looking at your electricity meter, which may be your only option if you’ve just moved into a property. Economy 7 meters can have two sets of numbers, one marked as ‘low’ and the other as ‘normal’, referring to night and day respectively. However, your Economy 7 meter may only have one set of numbers labelled ‘day rate’ with a button to press to see your ‘night rate’. When reading your Economy 7 meter, always remember to read both displays. 

Will an Economy 7 tariff benefit me?

An Economy 7 tariff may or may not save you money on your energy bill. When choosing an Economy 7 tariff, it’s important to be aware that day rates could be higher to compensate lower night rates so you need to make sure an Economy 7 tariff will suit your lifestyle.

Factors that’ll determine whether you’ll benefit from an Economy 7 tariff include:

  • How you heat your home and water – if you have electric storage heaters and a hot water tank, Economy 7 may be a cost effective option since you’ll be able to heat up your storage heaters overnight, letting them release heat slowly throughout the day. However, if you don’t have storage heaters or a hot water tank, Economy 7 may end up costing you more.
  • Lifestyle – with storage heaters, your home will probably be warm in the morning but cool down in the evening which may not fit into your lifestyle. However if you work unusual hours, or use a lot of energy at night, you’ll probably find Economy 7 is cost effective.
  • Appliances – if you own appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers that have timers, you’ll be able to set them to run at night rather than during the day.

Switching to and from Economy 7

If you’d like to switch to Economy 7, you’ll need to have an Economy 7 electricity meter installed. You can compare energy prices factoring in whether you’ll benefit from Economy 7, so it’s worth checking beforehand to see if you’ll benefit. You’ll also need to contact your energy supplier to arrange installing your new meter.

If you’ve already got an Economy 7 meter and don’t think it’s right for you, you can also switch back to a regular electricity tariff. Again, you’ll need to contact your energy supplier to find out more about the switching process and you may need a new meter installed. When switching both to and from Economy 7, your energy supplier may charge you for installing the new meter. 

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