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What's the difference between economy 7 and 10 tariffs?

What's the difference between economy 7 and 10 tariffs?

Economy 7 and 10 tariffs are designed to give you a cheaper electricity rate at night and a more expensive rate during the day. The key difference is the number of off-peak hours you get – 7 hours on Economy 7, and 10 hours on Economy 10.

Used properly, they could save you money. But whether you’ll benefit or not depends on your energy use habits. Read on to find out more about the differences and if either tariff is right for you.

Peter Earl
From the Energy team
4
minute read
posted 10 FEBRUARY 2020

What is an economy 7 tariff?

An economy 7 tariff is also known as a ‘time-of-use’ tariff. It will give you a cheaper rate during a 7-hour period when you’re least likely to be using energy – typically during the night. Most energy providers set the ‘off-peak’ 7-hour period to run from midnight to 7am, and the more expensive rate to cover the rest of the day.

If you have economy 7, it’s important to make a note of your off-peak times:

  • off-peak times may vary by a few minutes each day. Providers do this to stop all their economy 7 customers switching on appliances at the same time and overloading the grid.
  • the off-peak period may change when the clocks go forward or back. Some providers use winter time (GMT) all year round on economy tariffs.
  • if you sign up to an economy 7 tariff your energy provider should provide you with a special meter. Be sure to send the meter readings to your provider or you may get an estimated bill, which could be inaccurate and could lead to you being over or under charged.

What is an economy 10 tariff?

An economy 10 tariff is also a ‘time-of-use’ tariff that has 10 hours of the cheaper rate rather than 7. However, here your off-peak periods may be divided throughout the day and night. For example, you may get a five-hour off-peak period during the night and a three-hour and two-hour off-peak period during the day.

Can I save with Economy 7 or Economy 10?

Economy 7 and 10 tariffs are designed to give you a cheaper electricity rate at night and a more expensive rate during the day. There aren't any gas tariffs. Used properly, they could save you money. But whether you’ll benefit or not depends on your energy use habits. They are primarily designed for people who have storage heaters.

If you change your energy habits or your heating system without changing your tariff you could find yourself overpaying as peak daytime rates can be expensive.

Who might benefit from an economy 7 or 10 tariff?

People who tend to use more energy at night might benefit from these tariffs. For example:

  • if you’re a ‘night owl’ and watch TV or play computer games into the small hours
  • if you charge your gadgets overnight or have a timer on your washing up machine or dishwasher so they start during the off-peak period
  • if you have a storage heater which heats up your water or your radiators overnight

Money Saving Expert advises only signing up for an economy 7 tariff if you use around 40% of your electricity at night.

One word of warning though, the Fire Brigade recommend that you don't use washing machines and tumble dryers unattended overnight because of the fire risk.

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