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Will Economy 7 Be Phased Out In 2023?

Electricity economy tariffs in the UK offer consumers a range of options to manage their energy usage and costs – and one such popular tariff is Economy 7. The demand for this electricity tariff increased significantly due to its use with night storage heaters.

However, as the energy sector continues to evolve, more questions are arising about Economy 7 and whether it will be phased out in 2023.

The number of UK homes currently relying on Economy 7 meters is steadily declining, as energy suppliers are promoting the adoption of smart metering as the way forward.

Find out everything you need to know about the Economy 7 tariff and the potential for phasing the tariff out.

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What Is Economy 7?

Economy 7 is a type of electricity tariff that provides cheaper electricity rates for seven hours; usually at night, when energy consumption is lower.

Embracing Economy 7 is a smart way to optimise your energy consumption and keep your costs in check. During the 7-hour off-peak period (or off-peak hours), electricity is charged at a more economical rate.

Economy 7 tariffs were first introduced in the late 1970s and were initially implemented to cater to high-consumption appliances, like night storage heaters. These tariffs became popular for other tasks, however, such as running washing machines and dishwashers through the night.

By taking advantage of the cheaper electricity rates during off-peak times, you can manage your energy expenses efficiently and make the most of this cost-saving option. For example, Economy 7 can be especially helpful if you have night storage heaters, an electric car, or energy-intensive utilities and appliances.

What Is An Economy 7 Meter?

An Economy 7 meter is a specific type of electricity meter operating on a dual rate system, allowing it to measure energy usage at two separate rates. One reading is recorded for daytime electricity use (typically more expensive), and another for night-time or off-peak rate, which is cheaper.

Modern Economy 7 meters use digital technology to switch automatically between the off-peak and peak rates when they receive a signal. Older meters rely on a Radio Teleswitch Service (RTS) to perform this switching function.

As of the 31st of March 2023, the RTS service is scheduled to be discontinued. This discontinuation may impact the performance of older RTS systems.

It’s advisable to contact your energy supplier promptly to inquire about an upgrade if you currently have an RTS Economy 7 meter. Upgrading to a modern meter will ensure you can continue benefiting from the Economy 7 tariff without inconveniences caused by the RTS serving being phased out.

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An Economy 7 meter is a type of two-rate or smart meter with separate day and night registers. The night rate is usually from midnight to 7 am. During this time, your electricity is charged at a lower or cheaper rate compared to the usual “day rate.”

There are two types of Economy 7 meters; one with two displays and the other with a single digital display.

To take a meter reading from an Economy 7 meter with two displays, follow these quick steps:

  1. To take a reading from this meter type, you need to observe two dials or digital displays. Each reading will be accompanied by a corresponding rate indicator, which may be labelled as “Rate 1” and “Rate 2” or “Low” and “Normal”.
  2. The “Low” or “Rate 1” reading is your lower-priced night-rate electricity, while the “Normal” or “Rate 2” is your day-rate electricity.
  3. Read and note down the numbers shown in both the top and bottom rows, reading from left to right. Ignore any numbers after the decimal point or in red.

To read an Economy 7 meter with one digital display:

  1. For this type of meter, there is a single row of numbers that reflect either your day or night rate.
  2. The display will show either both the different rate readings, or you may need to press a button to cycle through the readings.
  3. To switch the display to a specific rate, press the button and take note of the numbers.

Design Elements

What Time Does Economy 7 Start?

Economy 7 usually runs from midnight to 7:00 am, but this can vary based on your location and electricity supplier. Typically, the off-peak electricity period starts at one of three times:

  • 11:00 pm to 6:00 am
  • 12:00 am to 7:00 pm
  • 1:00 am to 8:00 am

It’s important to remember that the Economy 7 times will change when the clocks go back or forward. This means that your off-peak times could be different between British Summer Time (BST) and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The off-peak period, which lasts for seven hours from midnight to 7:00 am, is adopted by many energy providers. The remaining hours in the day have a more expensive rate. This can differ between providers, so it’s wise to check with your supplier before signing up for the Economy 7 tariff.

Is Electricity Cheaper At Night?

Many people assume that electricity or energy prices are reduced at night due to lower demand, but this isn’t always the case – it depends on your electricity tariff.

Certain tariffs, like Economy 7 and modern smart off-peak suppliers, are specifically designed to offer cost savings during the night. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cheaper than other electricity tariffs on the market, however. In fact, Economy 7 might turn out to be more expensive than other standard tariffs.

That said, if your lifestyle allows you to take full advantage of off-peak times by using electricity during the night, Economy 7 could help you save money on your energy bill.

It’s best to contact your provider to find out accurate off-peak rates for your home.

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Is Economy 7 Going To Be Phased Out In 2030?

As of 2023, the UK Government has indicated that the Economy 7 tariff is being phased out. This is in alignment with their plan to close all coal-based power plants by 2030. However, off-peak tariffs in general are not being phased out, though there might be changes in how they’re managed.

Many energy companies are now introducing smart energy meters compatible with Economy 7 tariffs.

The future of storage heaters, commonly used with Economy 7 tariffs, may face challenges due to the absence of cheaper tariffs and rising energy costs. This could result in higher expenses for those relying on night storage heaters.

In addition to this, users of Economy 7 experienced a significant increase in unit rates in early 2023, surprising many who relied on the tariff for lower business energy bills.

Given these changes, it’s important to consider alternative electricity solutions as the Economy 7 tariff is phased out.

Find The Best Electricity Deals With Business Energy Comparison

Are you ready to cut down on your business’s energy consumption and save money? The easiest way forward is to compare deals and find one that best suits your energy needs. That’s where Business Energy Comparison comes in.

Our expertise in the market allows us to compare business gas and electricity rates for all business sizes, from small and medium businesses to large corporations.

Don’t settle for high electricity costs when there’s a better option available. Whether you’re looking to switch to an Economy 7, Economy 10, or other standard electricity tariffs, our energy brokers and consultants can help you find a cheaper business electricity rate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can benefit from an Economy 7 tariff?

This tariff can benefit individuals who use more energy during the night. If you fall into one of these categories, the Economy 7 tariff may be beneficial:

  1. You regularly stay up late working or relaxing.
  2. You charge devices or use certain heavy-use appliances throughout the night.
  3. You own an electric vehicle that you can charge overnight.
  4. You have storage radiators and hot water tanks that heat up during the night and use the residual heat during the day.

What is the difference between Economy 7 and Economy 10?

The main difference between Economy 7 and Economy 10 is the duration of the off-peak hours. While Economy 7 offers seven hours of off-peak electricity, Economy 10 provides ten hours.

Additionally, Economy 10’s off-peak hours are divided into three separate times. You usually receive three hours of off-peak in the afternoon, followed by four hours in the evening, and another three hours in the early morning.

Is there an Economy 7 tariff for gas?

No; there are no Economy 7 gas tariffs. Economy 7 tariffs are specifically designed for electricity meters and are commonly used in buildings that rely on electricity rather than gas for heating and hot water.