Economy 10 (also known as ‘White Meters’ in Scotland) is an alternative electricity tariff. It gives ‘off-peak’ energy prices split across 10 hours of each day.
The economy 10 tariffs work in a similar way to economy 7. However, both of these are not nearly as well-known as standard tariffs. Many people believe that energy consumption overnight is cheaper than during the day. In most cases this is not true. A standard electrical meter is not capable of splitting daytime and night time usage. It will simply accumulate the total number of KWh that you have used.
With economy 10, the off-peak 10 hours are split into 3 groups. This is generally between the afternoon, early evening and overnight, with the exact timings depending on your supplier. An example of this split is that you record off-peak usage from 1pm-4pm, then 8pm-midnight and a last section between 4am-7am.
Do I need to change my electrical meter for economy 10?
Yes. Standard meters are not capable of knowing when you are using electricity. An economy 10 meter will need to be installed which gives 2, or even 3 read-outs. These are often labelled ‘low’ and ‘normal’ or ‘daytime normal’, ‘daytime off-peak’ and ‘night time low usage’. When you provide meter readings to your electricity supplier, you will need to provide each one. Your bill is then worked out depending on how much on and off-peak electricity you have used.
Will economy 10 save me money?
This depends on how and when you use your electricity. In order to benefit from an Economy 10 tariff, you must be disciplined with your electricity demand. Although the off-peak prices are very low when compared to standard tariff, the on-peak rate will be at least double. This means that if you start using the majority of your electricity during on-peak hours, your bills are likely to increase.
If you have high demand appliances and can stick to using them during off-peak hours, then you really can save money. A lot will depend on the type of heating you use in your home. If you use storage heaters or a similar system, economy 10 could be suitable for you. It will depend a lot on how you generally use your system during any given day. It may be worth checking how effective at holding heat your system is before making the switch. A long day at work could result in a cold shower when you get home, if you time it wrongly.
Consider your ‘white goods’ as these are likely to be some of your biggest electricity users. Washing machines, dryers and dishwashers can draw relatively large amounts of power. The same is true for lots of exercise equipment like treadmills. If you can stick to using these during off-peak hours, then you can make savings.
How do I switch?
Switching is not as hassle free as usual. There aren’t many electrical companies around that offer economy 10, limiting your choices. As previously stated, you will also need to have a new electrical meter installed. Whilst this probably won’t lead to any upfront fees, reverting back to a standard meter in the future most likely will.
Many comparison sites don’t have the facility to compare economy 10 deals. Because of this, you may find yourself needing to check each supplier individually.
Can I get economy 10 for my gas supply?
No. Economy 10 is only currently available for electricity supply.
What are the main disadvantages of economy 10?
The main disadvantage comes down to a lack of choice. Because a limited number of companies offer to supply economy 10 tariffs, competition isn’t as good as it could be.
High on-peak charges can lead to an increase in bills. If you can’t maintain around 40% of your electricity usage to the off-peak hours, you will be in for a shock when your bill arrives. Getting the best out of economy 10 relies on disciplined electricity use.
Restoring a standard meter is costly. Reverting back to a standard meter in the future may not be free.
Off-peak times vary between suppliers. This means that if you wish to switch your tariff to another company, you may need to have an engineer come out to reprogram your economy 10 meter.
Changing seasons and darker nights may change when you want to use your electrical appliances. Be aware that your tariff timings will not change throughout the year. Using your electricity to heat your water during on-peak hours is a quick and easy way to get yourself a high bill.