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Peak and off-peak electricity times

Peak and off-peak electricity times

No one wants to pay more for their energy than they have too. So, is it cheaper to run your appliances at certain times of the day? Here’s what you need to know about peak and off-peak energy.

Peter Earl
From the Energy team
minute read
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Posted 6 FEBRUARY 2020

What are peak and off-peak times for electricity?

A few energy providers charge less for using electricity at certain times of day (or night). These off-peak hours tend to be quieter periods, for example, between the hours of 10pm and 8am.

But most energy suppliers charge a flat rate for electricity. So, no matter what time you turn on the dishwasher, it will cost you the same.

How can I benefit from off-peak electricity?

To benefit from cheaper hours, you’ll need to be on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff. These offer you seven or 10 hours of cheaper electricity, and are a great option for those who use a lot of energy during the night. For example, if you have electric night storage heaters or charge an electric car overnight.

However, with Economy 7 and 10 tariffs, daytime rates can be steep, and you’ll only save money on these tariffs if you use at least 40% of your electricity at night.

If you have a smart meter fitted, some energy firms may let you benefit from cheaper off-peak tariffs – so it’s worth comparing plans.

When are the Economy 7 and Economy 10 off-peak times?

It will vary, depending on which energy supplier you’re with and where you live. It may also change depending on the time of year and might not be a continuous block of hours. Typically, you can expect it to fall somewhere between 10pm and 8am.

To find out your off-peak hours, call your energy supplier or check your bill.

Should I use my appliances at night?

Not according to the London Fire Brigade, who attend an appliance-related fire every night. And night-time fires are far more dangerous and likely to spread while you’re asleep.

How much do my appliances cost to use?

This will depend on your appliances and how efficient they are, but here’s a rough guide. Assuming that 1 kWh of electricity costs around 14.5p, this is what you can expect to pay:

Appliance Average consumption Cost per year
Flat screen TV 658 kWh/year £95
Fridge-freezer 427 kWh/year £62
Hob 226 kWh/year £33
Kettle 167 kWh/year £24
PC 166 kWh/year £24

How can I cut the cost of my electricity?

If off-peak tariffs aren’t for you, there are other ways to cut your energy bills, such as:

  • Don’t use your tumble dryer. It’s much cheaper to dry clothes on the line
  •  Don’t charge your phone unnecessarily. When it’s at 100%, unplug it.
  • Don’t leave gadgets on standby. Unplugging them completely will save you money.
  •  Draught-proof your doors and fit curtains or blinds
  •  Use solar-powered lights outside.

Can I shop around for cheaper tariffs if I’m on Economy 7 or Economy 10?

Yes – and it’s always worth comparing. But you might find it more difficult if you’re looking for an alternative Economy 10 tariff, as there tends to be less choice. You can compare Economy 7 tariffs with Compare the Market, but unfortunately we don’t compare Economy 10 tariffs.

There are a few smaller suppliers that offer Economy 10 tariffs, so it might be an idea to contact them directly to see if you could save.

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