EducationalTips and Tricks

Economy 7 cost cutting tips

You’ve made the decision that Economy 7 is for you and you’re certain that you’re on the best Economy 7 deal. So here are nine tips to push your savings to the max.

Double-check your off-peak times

Always check exactly when your off-peak period begins and ends. ( we’ve made a great blog that lets you know when your off-peak times are – check it out here 

But, it’s worth mentioning that off-peak might start at slightly different times each day. For example, one night it might start at 12.05am, but another night it may begin at 12.15am. It should only vary by a few minutes though.

This can sometimes happen because companies try to avoid all customers turning on their appliances at the same time as it could overload the network, so it’s often safer to change the times.

If you want to know exactly when we will be changing times, you can send an email to our Customer Service team here and they will gladly let you know all the information you need.

Max your night-time usage

In order to use Economy 7 successfully, it means you need to make sure you stick to turning on appliances through the night. Here are some tricks:

  • Grab cheap timers – Why not install timers on your washing machine (if they’re not already built in). You can get them from around £5 from various hardware stores, they're easy to install and will save you a few pounds in the long term.
  • Charge gadgets at night – This is something that many of us are already doing, but worth mentioning all the same. Charge as many gadgets as possible during the cheaper night hours, from phones to laptops and rechargeable batteries/charger packs which should keep you profiting all day.
  • Use energy-efficient appliances - Economy 7 is known for its pricer daytime rates, so by make sure the appliances you use during peak hours don't rack up your bill. Try using energy-efficient light bulbs for a start.
  • Warning! Set tumble dryers to come on just before you wake- For health and safety reasons, we never recommend setting tumble dryers on whilst you are asleep, plus the fire brigades highly advise not too. Combat this by setting it to come on around 10 minutes before you wake up.

Be careful when the clocks change

It’s important to note that many Economy 7 meters are set to Greenwich Mean Time. With some using clocks which STAY on GMT, even when the clocks go forward at the end of March.

As a culture that is increasingly reliant on computers to automatically set our timers, it can cause problems because you could end up using electrical appliances during what you think is off-peak, when in fact you're paying the pricey peak rate. For example, if you set the dishwasher or washing machine to come on just after midnight during British Summer Time, the Economy 7 meter might still be on GMT.

This means the meter still thinks it's just after 11pm – a peak period – so you might be shocked when you discover this has all been charged at the expensive rate. Sometimes the cheap rate period moves from something like 1am to 8am during GMT, to between 2am and 9am.

Find out EXACTLY what your cheap hours are during BST. Some people may have a sticker on their meter which tells them – if not, get in touch to find out exactly when your peak hours are during BST.

Ensure your meter's clock isn't on its way out.

Older mechanical clocks have been known to age and go out of sync.  Make sure to check yours to make sure it hasn't thrown your off-peak hours completely out of sync.

If the daytime reading on your Economy 7 meter is ticking over at night, or vice versa, call us ASAP to get it fixed.

Maximise the energy efficiency of your storage heaters

There are usually three types of storage heaters. The first is a manual one with really basic controls – an input/output dial.

Another has a thermostat. This one releases heat depending on the temperature of the room it's in.

The third type is a combination of the previous two. It has a convector heater to use as a booster during peak hours.

If you've got a manual storage heater, with just the input/output dial, make sure the output is set to low before it comes on in the night. The output dial normally goes from 1-6, so make sure it's set at 1.

This will ensure the storage heater charges up through the night without releasing heat – and wasting your electricity.

Call us if your day usage soars

If you start to use electricity far more during the day while on Economy 7, check the meter or get in touch with us to find out how much you're using – and how much it's costing you.

Don't leave it let it get the better of you, we have a big heart and are here to help!

Do the energy-saving basics

There's no point switching to Economy 7 if you wander round the house in your underwear with the radiators on full and windows wide open.

Making sensible changes will save you.  Using draught excluders, setting washing machines to 30°C to low-energy light bulbs and notching down the thermostat.

Do a meter reading every time you get a new statement

The best way to ensure that you are only paying for what you use is to provide accurate and up to date meter readings.  We don’t need them every month, however, by providing them regularly, you will be able to keep track on your usage and also ensure that you are paying the correct amount.

If you pay by direct debit and you feel you are paying way too much, get in touch and we will evaluate your account and ensure the payments are affordable.

You can provide meter readings quickly and efficiently online here

Check if you can get a smart meter

Smart meters are great appliances for recording how much energy you use.  Usually every half an hour the meter will send us a meter reading meaning you don’t have to and you know that you are only paying for your actual usage.

Smart meters come with a display monitor (IHD) which show you, at that moment, exactly how much energy you're using and the cost. You’re able to see if you're using too much during expensive daytime hours.

The Government has set that every UK customer will be offered a smart meter, free, by 2020.  We hope to start supplying our customers with them asap.  Keep an eye on our website and your email inbox for more information as to when they will become available.