Last updated: 23 October 2020
In this guide you’ll find:
What is an Economy 10 meter?
Economy 10 times – when is the off-peak period?
Economy 10 suppliers
Do I need to install an Economy 10 meter?
Can an Economy 10 meter save me money?
Are there any downsides to Economy 10 tariffs?
Is an Economy 10 tariff right for me?
Pros and cons of Economy 10 tariffs
Are there other ways to save money on my energy bills?
An Economy 10 meter is a special type of electricity meter that monitors energy use during two different periods – peak and off-peak – enabling energy suppliers to charge a different amount for each. This lets you take advantage of the cheaper rate that’s typically charged during off-peak hours when demand is lower. It’s essentially the same as an Economy 7 meter, the only difference is that you receive three more hours of off-peak energy per day.
With Economy 10 you usually have seven hours off-peak energy at night – the same as an Economy 7 tariff – and three hours in the afternoon.
The breakdown of off-peak hours could look something like this:
Five hours at night
Three hours in the afternoon
Two hours in the evening
Off-peak Economy 10 times vary depending on your supplier and location, so it’s best to check with your energy provider directly. What is common to all Economy 10 tariffs is that energy use is billed at a lower rate during off-peak periods than during peak times.
Will your electricity run out at night? No, there’s also no limit to the amount of energy you can use during off-peak times. There are some drawbacks, however. Because this type of tariff requires a special Economy 10 meter, not all suppliers offer Economy 10 plans. Also, while off-peak unit rates are up to half the price of the peak-time costs, you can expect to pay higher standing charges overall with this type of plan.
While most of the major energy providers offer Economy 7 meters, it’s harder to find Economy 10 suppliers. Here are a few examples of Economy 10 providers:
E.ON accepts customers with newer Economy 10 meters that have a single MPAN number (a meter point administration number that uniquely identifies your meter). It won’t accept customers with older models that feature two MPANs, however. Existing E.ON customers can upgrade to a newer Economy 10 meter.
Green Energy offers dual-rate renewable energy with options for Economy 7 and Economy 10 meters.
SSE offers Economy 10 tariffs with different off-peak hours depending on the region.
Some providers will accept customers with Economy 10 meters, but will only offer them an Economy 7 tariff. Examples include Octopus Energy and British Gas.
Yes, if you want to benefit from Economy 10 tariffs you need the correct meter. There are multiple meter readings involved with an Economy 10 tariff, which is why you need a special meter to access this type of plan. These show the amount of energy used during peak and off-peak Economy 10 times. A standard meter will only provide a single meter reading, which is why it won’t work with this type of plan.
If you don’t already have an Economy 10 meter in your home, you may need to pay to have one installed by one of the suppliers mentioned above. If you later decide to switch suppliers and choose a company that doesn’t offer an Economy 10 plan, you may have to pay to have your meter changed back to a standard one. Be sure to factor these charges into your overall budget. It’s a similar situation if you have an Economy 10 meter installed in rental accommodation: your landlord may insist you pay to change it back to a standard meter before you leave.
It’s certainly possible to save money using an Economy 10 meter, but only if you maximise your electricity use during off-peak times. Peak-hour electricity can be more expensive than on a standard single-rate tariff, so you need to use high-energy appliances during off-peak hours to benefit fully. You need to set dishwashers, washing machines and tumble dryers to run during off-peak Economy 10 times, for instance. You could also benefit if you have an electric car that you can charge overnight.
This type of tariff works best in homes that have an electric heating system, allowing you to store the heat you generate during off-peak hours with storage heaters or underfloor heating. This allows the heat to build up overnight when you turn on the heating. During the daytime, if you’re at home, you can use small fan heaters or other alternative sources of heat to supplement background heating and save money.
Electric storage heaters are a good option for heating water at night and storing it for daytime use. However, many older models require at least seven hours of heating time. With just five hours of off-peak energy overnight, Economy 10 tariffs might not be the best solution if you have an older storage heater.
An Economy 10 plan isn’t for everyone. Here are a few of the potential pitfalls to keep in mind before you make the switch.
It can be expensive to switch back to a standard tariff if you’ve installed an Economy 10 meter because you have to pay to remove it and have a standard meter fitted.
There aren’t as many suppliers offering Economy 10 tariffs, which leaves you with fewer options should you decide to switch providers. And with off-peak times varying between suppliers, you might need your existing Economy 10 meter reprogrammed.
Using this type of plan requires planning and discipline to maximise savings. You need to run appliances at night or during designated off-peak hours or you won’t save any money. If you start running machines during peak periods, it could end up costing you more because you’ll be paying a premium for electricity. Consider electricity-hungry appliances that you may have to run at peak times – like an electric oven – before committing to this type of plan.
Noise could become a problem if you plan to run appliances and do your hoovering at night. Ask yourself whether the sound made will disturb your family or your neighbours at night.
Economy 10 might be inconvenient when you need to perform a chain of energy-intensive tasks – if you need to wash and then move your laundry into a tumble dryer in the middle of the night, for instance.
Despite these potential disadvantages, Economy 10 plans can be a great fit for some households. If you have the type of schedule where you’re home during off-peak times and away during peak hours, you could save a bundle. Those who fall into the following categories may wish to explore this option further when comparing energy tariffs:
Your heating relies on electricity rather than gas and you have a modern storage heater or features like underfloor heating or electric wet radiators. These allow heat to be retained and released during the day.
You have an electric car that can be charged overnight.
You have timer settings on your large appliances, making it easy to use them during off-peak hours.
Your large, noisy appliances are positioned in a way that won’t disturb you or other people who are trying to sleep at night.
You can be disciplined about energy use and stick to a routine that means most of your energy is used during off-peak periods.
You’re not reliant on an older storage heater that requires at least seven hours of continuous heating to work properly.
|Can save on bills if you can school yourself to use electricity during off-peak hours.||Daytime electricity use will cut into savings made at night.|
|Good if you have electric heating, such as modern storage heaters, underfloor heating or electric wet radiators.||There are few Economy 10 suppliers, which means you have little choice when selecting tariffs.|
|Can be useful for charging electric cars overnight.||You may have to pay to have an Economy 10 meter installed (and possibly uninstalled again later).|
|Noise from appliances could be a problem at night.|
There are a few alternatives to an Economy 10 tariff, including Economy 7. These offer just seven hours of off-peak energy at night, but they work with older storage heaters and give you a wider selection of suppliers from which to choose.
You can also save money on your energy bills by looking for simple ways to reduce your household consumption. Here are a few ideas to help you save, no matter which type of tariff you’re on.
Use energy-saving light bulbs
Turn the thermostat down by one degree
Turn off standby appliances at the plug
Insulate and draught-proof your home to lock in warmth
Use lower temperatures on your washing machine
Look at efficiency ratings when purchasing new appliances
Install double-glazed windows
The Energy Saving Trust can offer even more ideas on simple ways to cut energy usage with or without an Economy 10 plan.