What is Economy 7?
Economy 7 is an electricity tariff offering cheaper rates for off-peak hours and more expensive rates during peak hours.
Depending on the times of day you use electricity the most, an Economy 7 tariff could help you save money.
For instance, if you have a storage heater or an electric vehicle that you charge during off-peak hours then an Economy 7 tariff might help you save money.
How does Economy 7 work?
With an Economy 7 tariff, you’re charged different rates for peak and off-peak electricity use.
Your supplier will specify the seven off-peak hours of the tariff when you sign up. These usually run from midnight to 7am but may vary depending on your location and your supplier.
Households on an Economy 7 tariff use a special two-rate (or ‘dual rate’) electricity meter that records peak and off-peak consumption separately.
Changes to electricity meters using Radio Teleswitch (RTS) technology (Economy 7 meter)
The BBC radio service that supports RTS meters is being phased out and is planned to end 31 March 2024. If you have an electricity meter which switches between peak and off-peak tariff rates, such as an Economy 7 tariff, or it automatically turns on your heating or hot water, you may have a meter that uses Radio Teleswitch (RTS) technology. Read about the changes and how they affect households in the Radio Teleswitch electricity meters: consumer guidance.
Economy 7 and the Energy Price Cap
The Price Cap assumes that 42% of consumption takes place during the off-peak period for an Economy 7 tariff, so some customers may save still money with Economy 7 by shifting more of their electricity use to the off-peak hours.
However, if you don’t use a lot of energy at night, you may be better off on a single rate tariff.
Should I switch?
Some suppliers still offer Economy 7. Their prices for on- and off-peak rates may vary, as long as the average rate doesn’t exceed the Energy Price Cap.
So, if you use a lot of electricity at night it may be worth shopping around for the right deal. For instance:
- if you have an electric vehicle (EV) or
- use an electric storage heater.
If you’re already on an Economy 7 tariff but you don’t use storage heaters, or have another reason for using electricity at night, then you’re likely to be better off on another deal.
Check your meter and tariff
Make sure you have an Economy 7 meter (or a smart meter that’s capable of offering different rates during different periods) if you’re currently on an Economy 7 tariff.
A small number of customers may have had an economy 7 meter that was removed, while remaining on an Economy 7 tariff. This would mean they can only access the day rate. If in doubt, contact your supplier.