What Time Does Electricity Become Cheaper
Is electricity cheaper at night time? It certainly can be, but things are far more complicated than they used to be. These days, making sure you pay no more than you need to for your electricity supply involves a bit more than using storage heaters or setting your washing machine to come on after midnight.
Depending on where you live, there will be a number of suppliers to choose from. They’ll all have a range of plans, and figuring out which one will suit you best can be far from simple. You can use a price comparison website, but not all companies list all their plans online.
Off-Peak Night Time Tariffs
The concept is simple. Demand for electricity varies a lot at different times of the day. In order to even things out, companies offer cheaper rates at off-peak times. In the past when there were far fewer suppliers and meters were relatively unsophisticated this was always at night. Typically off-peak electricity times ran for seven hours, which fell somewhere between 11 pm and 7.30 or 8 am. You may hear this old style off-peak plan referred to as ‘economy seven’.
Cheap electric at night is all very well, but it’s not always convenient. Your neighbours might not love you for using noisy appliances in the early hours of the morning, especially if you live in a terraced house with thin walls. More importantly, the fire brigade advises against leaving large white goods unattended while they’re running. This is particularly true of tumble dryers which have been blamed for a number of fatal fires in recent years. Nighttime fires are more dangerous as the flames and smoke have more time to get established before they’re detected. In fact, a fire that starts between midnight and 5 am is twice as likely to result in a fatality when compared with a daytime incident.
Other Time Of Use Tariffs
Potentially far more useful to the average householder than the economy seven tariff is the economy ten option. In this variant, made possible by more complex meters, off-peak electricity is available not just at night, but also for a few hours in the afternoon. There are even one or two companies that offer packages which include free electricity on Saturday or Sunday. The exact times vary according to region and company.
Researching the Whole Package
On the face of it, free daytime electricity at the weekend sounds very appealing, but it’s not something to be taken in isolation. When looking at a tariff plan, you need to ask not just ‘what time does electricity become cheaper?’ but also what it will cost when it’s charged at the normal rate. The typical charge for a single tariff plan is likely to fall between 10p and14p per kWh. Some companies might offer a bargain nighttime rate but offset this with a much more expensive peak rate tariff. And always check the small print, when you do, you could discover that the company has the right to change (i.e. increase!) the price during the term of your fixed contract.
Tips for Keeping Your Electricity Bills Down
⇒Get a smart meter fitted
It won’t cost you to do so and once you do you’ll have access to the full range of plans available in your area.
⇒Do your research
Check price comparison sites, and the websites of the companies who offer electricity supply in your region. Read the terms and conditions carefully and consider whether what’s on offer suits your current lifestyle, or whether the changes you’ll need to make to make the best of what’s on offer are easy to accommodate.
Once you’ve found the best current deal, don’t assume it will remain the best in the future. In the past, changing supplier might have meant changing the meter, as of September 2017 this is no longer the case. Once any contractual period you’ve signed up to is over, you should be able to change suppliers or tariffs free of charge.
⇒The price per KwH is only part of the story
The price you pay for your electricity is important, but so is how efficiently you use it. Pay close attention to energy efficiency ratings when you change any electrical appliances. Choosing energy efficient appliances may save you as much, or more, than finding the cheapest supplier.