Last updated: 16 October 2020
In this guide, you’ll find answers to the following questions:
What is the Economy 10 tariff?
What are the Economy 10 times?
How is Economy 10 different from Economy 7?
Can I get an Economy 10 smart meter?
Is Economy 10 the right tariff for me?
Economy 10 is a specific type of energy tariff known as a “differential tariff”. This means that the tariff charges different unit (per kWh) prices for your electricity at different times of day. Economy 10 works in a similar way to rail tickets, with peak and off-peak prices charged depending on when you use your energy. Off-peak unit prices are usually half the peak unit rate but note that peak unit prices are usually more expensive than regular or Economy 7 tariffs, so savings over other tariffs aren’t necessarily guaranteed depending on how you use your energy.
You may already be familiar with Economy 7, which offers a simple peak period followed by a single off-peak period lasting seven hours in the late evening and early hours of the morning.
The Economy 10 tariff takes the concept further – instead of seven hours you get ten hours of discounted electricity, and those 10 hours are split over two (afternoon, overnight) or three separate periods (afternoon, evening, overnight) instead of combined into a single, continuous period (overnight only). Consequently, if you use energy predominantly at night and at certain hours of the day, you can expect to save money on your energy bills.
Note: not all energy suppliers offer Economy 10 tariffs, so look for an option to select Economy 10 when comparing energy prices if you’re keen on switching to one.
The 10 off-peak hours offered on the Economy 10 tariff are split between two or three periods depending on your supplier and where you live. They can be split between the afternoon, the night, and – if available – the evening.
The area where you live is important because the actual breakdown of your Economy 10 times is determined by your local distribution network operator as well as your energy supplier. Some examples of different Economy 10 times are:
|Type||Afternoon off-peak hours||Evening off-peak hours||Overnight off-peak hours|
|Afternoon/overnight||3 (e.g. 1-4pm)||N/A||7 (e.g. 12-7am)|
|Afternoon/evening/overnight||3 (e.g. 1-4pm)||4 (e.g. 8pm-12am)||3 (e.g. 4-7am)|
Note: these times are GMT and may change when the clocks go forward for British Summer Time depending on your supplier and where you live. For example, 1-4pm GMT becomes 2-5pm BST. Check with your supplier for exact periods and times.
With other types of energy tariffs, you pay the same unit price for energy regardless of what time they use it. With Economy 10, your rate per kWh of energy varies according to the time of day. This means Economy 10 could be a cheaper option if you use a significant amount of energy at night-time, for instance.
The obvious difference is that Economy 10 provides 10 hours of cheaper electricity to the seven on offer from Economy 7 tariffs. The other difference is that while Economy 7’s off-peak period is a single, continuous period overnight, Economy 10 spreads its hours over two or three separate periods – a three-hour period in the afternoon, plus a few hours in the evening (if offered) and the remainder coming overnight, as with Economy 7.
An Economy 10 meter is one that has two rates: peak, and off-peak. The meter is programmed with the times of day each rate should be applied to ensure you’re charged the correct rate for your electricity depending on when you use it. Some meters also have a third rate, known as a ‘heat’ or ‘heatwise’ rate. This is a dedicated circuit wired into your hot water and heating to ensure it only switches on during off-peak periods.
If you plan to switch to Economy 10, you’ll need to swap out your existing meter with an Economy 10 meter. Your new energy supplier will handle the installation for you, but it’s likely to charge a fee for doing so.
Simple answer: no. There’s no such thing as an Economy 10 smart meter, which means Economy 10 tariffs are incompatible with existing smart meters. If you already have a smart meter installed in your home, you’ll need to replace it with an Economy 10 meter if you decide to switch.
Economy 10 tariff rates for off-peak hours are usually around half the price of peak hours. While this presents the potential for making substantial savings on your energy costs, remember that peak Economy 10 tariff rates are likely to be higher than standard rates.
Economy 10 heating – sometimes known as “heatwise” – is essentially the same as normal electric heating but works best with a hot water tank and electric storage heaters. This allows you to charge them up during the night when electricity is cheaper, then use the hot water and heat throughout the daytime. Note, older storage heaters require around seven hours to build up the heat overnight, so if you have these, you’ll probably find an Economy 7 tariff is more cost-effective if your Economy 10 splits its hours over three periods instead of two.
If you don’t already know this, there are three ways to find out:
Look at your electricity bill
If your electricity is charged at two separate rates, then you may be on an Economy 10 tariff, although there’s also a chance that you’re on an Economy 7 tariff.
Look at your electricity meter
An Economy 10 meter will have two sets of numbers, one labelled “low” and one labelled “normal.” If you see these sets of numbers on your meter, you have a multi-rate meter, which indicates either Economy 10 or Economy 7.
Contact your energy supplier
If you still aren’t sure, simply get in touch with your energy supplier and ask them what type of energy plan you’re on.
The following suppliers should offer full support for Economy 10:
Economy 7 Energy
Green Energy UK
Green Network Energy
Outfox The Market
Switching to an Economy 10 tariff is slightly more complicated than other types of energy plan switches, because you’ll need to have an Economy 10 meter installed. Head to a price comparison site, enter your details, and select a plan that works for you. Then, contact the supplier, and they’ll tell you exactly what you need to do to make the switch. Be prepared to pay an installation fee for your new Economy 10 meter, so factor this cost into your decision to switch.
If you decide that you want to switch back to a standard tariff, you’ll need to reinstall a standard energy meter or smart meter in your home. Your energy supplier can do this for you, but again there may be an additional charge. To find out more, get in touch with your new energy supplier and find out what you need to do to switch back to a normal tariff.
There are several ways you can take advantage of an Economy 10 tariff:
Economy 10 plans work best with electric storage heaters and hot water tanks, as this allows you to keep water hot during the day after it’s been heated up at night.
It’s best to have appliances (tumble dryers, washing machines, etc.) with timer settings so you can operate them at night.
Combine with renewables
If you have solar panels, consider pairing them with an Economy 10 tariff – when the daylight hours end, you’ll be able to make use of subsidised electricity during part of the afternoon (winter time), plus seven hours during the evening and overnight.
Economy 10 plans work best with electric storage heaters, so if your home is heated by gas or another energy source, the savings you’ll be able to make will be substantially less.
Another drawback of Economy 10 is the cost of switching. You’ll need to pay to install a new Economy 10 meter, which can be expensive. In addition, you’ll need to be disciplined about your energy use and make sure that you use most of your energy at certain times of the day. If you don’t, you could end up paying expensive peak rates and spend more than you would on a standard tariff.
It’s also important to remember that off-peak times vary from one Economy 10 plan to another, so if you want to switch provider, your Economy 10 meter will need to be reprogrammed, which could result in additional charges.
Finally, not all energy suppliers offer Economy 10 tariffs, which limit the number of choices you’ll have when comparing energy prices to get the best deal.
If you’re out of the house during the day – or have solar panels to power your home during daylight hours – then Economy 10 could make sense if you’re able to ensure you use most of your electricity during the off-peak hours. It’s doubly attractive if you heat your home using electric storage heaters and a hot water tank.
The addition of extra off-peak hours in the afternoon as well as the option of having a couple of off-peak hours during the evening when you’re still awake, may also appeal – particularly if you’re weighing up whether to go for Economy 10 or Economy 7. Ultimately, though, you’ll need to be disciplined to ensure you use electricity at the right times to reduce your energy costs.
Saveonenergy explains how to read your electricity meter and make sure you don't pay more than you need to for your energy.Read More