How does off-peak electricity work?

Your guide to economy 7 meters, day and night rates and how off-peak electricity could benefit you.

Flash with a smart meter.

What is off-peak electricity?

This is when you pay a different amount for your electricity depending on the time of day. For example, you could pay 20p for every unit of electricity you use during the day and 10p during the night. Off-peak electricity will be cheaper so it's important to make use of the time its available if you can.

Most customers only have a single rate of electricity, which means they pay the same for each unit of electricity they use. However, if you have an economy 7 meter, economy 10 meter or a different type of meter that has multiple meter reading screens then you could be benefitting from off-peak electricity.

You'll know if you have an economy 7 meter because on your electricity bill you'll see that you have two separate sets of meter readings as well as the different unit rates for day/night listed.

Do I need to pay two rates for my electricity?

This will depend on when you use your energy. Whilst the off-peak rate is generally lower than the rate you’d pay on a single rate, the day rate is normally more expensive.

Off-peak electricity/economy 7 meters are helpful if you use at least 30% of your electricity at night, on things such as storage heaters or large appliances. If you don’t, then you’d probably be better off with a single rate.

If you have a smart meter then you can use your energy usage data to see if you're using more energy at night than you use during the day.

Do I need an economy 7 meter to get off-peak electricity?

You’ll need a meter which can do more than one rate such as an economy 7 meter. This will allow your electricity supply to flip between the two rates.

What time does my off-peak electricity start?

The times for off-peak electricity vary depending on your meter, however it is normally a 7 hour window between 11pm - 8am, for example 11pm - 6am.

If you’re not sure when your off peak rate starts get in touch with your energy supplier.

Can I switch to a single rate with an economy 7 meter?

Yes if you no longer want to have more than one rate for your meter you can switch to a single rate tariff. This is helpful if you’ve changed when you’re using your electricity.

If you’re on a fixed tariff you may have to wait until the end of your term however if you’re on a variable tariff you may be able to switch straight away.

Will my smart meter work with off peak rates?

Yes your smart meter will be able to handle multiple rates. You’ll also be able to see how much energy you’re using with your in-home display (IHD).

If you choose for your smart meter to send half-hourly data then you’ll get the most accurate usage between your peak and off peak rates. You can switch to half-hourly data through your online account.

Can you get off-peak gas?

No, energy suppliers can only do peak and off-peak for electricity. You’ll always be charged a single rate for your gas supply.