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Cheapest time to run all your appliances depending on your supplier revealed – and how to cut bills

DARKER evenings and colder days leave homes using more energy, pushing bills up.

To make matters worse, government help to cushion gas and electricity costs isn’t coming back this year.

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Households could make big savings by changing to an Eco 7 or 10 tariff[/caption]

It means many homes will be battling with painfully high bills, despite the energy cap coming down.

However, using appliances at cheaper times is one way that you can save money – but only if you’re on a special tariff.

So-called “time of use tariffs” – also known as economy 7 or 10 tariffs – charge less for electricity that is used outside of peaks times.

The economy 7 tariff offers cheaper electricity rates for seven hours at night – usually from around midnight to 7am.

It can work for people who want to heat their home using storage heaters or charging their electric vehicle, for example.  

A spokesperson for the Energy Saving Trust said: “People on specific tariffs like Economy 7 have different electricity rates at different times of day, typically receiving cheaper electricity overnight. 

“If you do have cheaper electricity overnight, this is usually designed for your storage heaters and hot water.

“Whilst we’re all looking for ways to save money on our energy bills, if you’re on a variable tariff such as Economy 7 it’s important to carefully consider any potential risks of leaving appliances running while you’re out or asleep.”

On an Economy 10 plan, you’ll have 10 hours of cheaper rates over a 24 hour period – your supplier will set these hours.

The savings are only worthwhile if you can use appliances and electricity during the off-peak hours.

If you don’t use a lot of energy at night or it isn’t practical to make the shift, you could be better off on single rate tariff.

The typical tarriffs most people are on, either standard variable or fixed deals, are single rate meaning the same price is charged regardless of the time of day.

Each supplier chooses their own Economy 7 times – so check with each supplier before committing.

For example, Ovo has a Power Move scheme that will reward customers woith £10 a month if they are able to cut their usage between the peak hours of 4pm-7pm to less than 12.5%.

How much can I save with an Eco 7 tariff?

The savings depend on a lot of variables, such as how much energy you are using and the models of your appliances.  

However, you can save hundreds of pounds with the tariffs. However, you must be aware of the fire risk of running certain appliances overnight while you sleep.

One saver calculated that he saves £725 a year on his Economy 7 tariff.

An Ofgem spokesperson said: “If Economy 7 customers use cheaper off-peak electricity, they can make substantial savings – however they will pay more if they use more peak-time electricity.”

What are other ways that can I lower my energy bills?

If swapping to an energy 7 or 10 tariff doesn’t suit your lifestyle needs, there are many ways that you can save on your bill.

You can spend small amounts and save on your heating by simply draught-proofing your home.

When you block gaps that let cold air in and warm air out, you don’t need to pop the heating on as high, or as long, during cold weather.

And you can buy draught excluders for less than £10.

It’s also worth doing a check on energy guzzling appliances that can cost you more than £500 a year.

Make sure you turn these appliances off at the plug when you’re not using them.

Energy saver mode settings will also shave down bills.

If you find you are unable to pay bills, your energy firm could give you access to a hardship fund.

For example, British Gas has a scheme offering customers up to £750 to put towards energy debts.

Ask your supplier what’s on offer and how to apply, or check here:

Local councils also have the Household Support Fund, which are payments or vouchers designed to help low incomes families.

Check you are getting all you’re entitled to in terms of benefits and grants, you can search on the Turn2Us website.

September 24, 2023 at 01:51PM

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