1. What is an Economy 7?
Economy 7 (E7) refers to the meter type that usually goes with an Economy 7 electricity tariff. They’re sometimes called differential plan or multi-rate plan. E7 meters are usually found in homes that use electricity for heating and hot water, rather than gas.
With an Economy 7 tariff your electricity will be charged at two rates - a day rate and a night rate. You pay a cheaper rate for electricity for seven hours at night (off-peak) and a higher one in the day. This means the meter will show two different numbers; one set of numbers for your ‘normal’ or daytime electricity use, and another for your ‘low’ or cheaper nighttime use. This can also sometimes appear as Rate 1 and 2, or R1 and R2.
Is electricity cheaper at night with E7?
Usually – the 7 hours of off-peak electricity rates at night are usually cheaper, but you can check with your energy supplier to be sure.
If you're an EDF customer you can find out the current unit rates for economy 7 meters as of 1st October 2022, if you're on the standard variable tariff. If you're on a fixed tariff your unit prices may vary from this.
Can you get an E7 meter/tariff for gas?
No, there’s no Economy 7 tariff for gas. Gas is used mostly for cooking, central heating and hot water which you can’t choose to use do mostly at night.
2. Why is it called Economy 7?
The meter takes its name from the seven hours of cheaper (off-peak) electricity at night.
3. What are the Economy 7 times?
The off-peak electricity times for your E7 meter will vary depending on where you live and who your Network Operator is. Usually, you get your seven hours of off-peak electricity sometime between 11pm and 8am. This might be split up into chunks of time.
You'll need to look at your bill or contact your supplier to find out your exact Economy 7 off-peak electricity hours, as the times vary depending on where you live.
What about when the clocks change?
E7 meters won't normally adjust themselves for when the clocks go forward or back. This means your off-peak times could be different between British Summer Time (BST, when clocks go forward) and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT, when clocks go back). Make sure you ask your supplier how this will impact you.
4. How do I use my Economy 7 meter?
Economy 7 meters can save you energy and lower your bills if you plan ahead and use your electricity during off-peak times.
Set your appliances for off-peak times
Setting home appliances to come on at night can make a big difference to your bills. Things like washing machines, dishwashers, bread-makers, slow cookers etc can happily run overnight to make the most of off-peak rates.
If you have an electric vehicle you could also save money by charging overnight. Some energy suppliers now offer more competitive tariffs specifically for EV owners. Find out more about EDF’s electric vehicle tariffs
Storage heaters and Economy 7
If you have storage heaters you can make the most of Economy 7 by programming them to charge overnight. That way they charge up at the cheapest time to use electricity. They'll keep you warm during the day without using the higher day rate.
Review your energy if you're at home more
If you're working from home or spending more time in your house during the day, it'd be worth checking if Economy 7 is still the best choice for you. The daytime, peak electricity rate is usually more expensive than a single-rate tariff, so switching tariffs might be better for you. A lot of suppliers (us included!) can provide you with single-rate electricity without the hassle of having to change your meter.
5. Can I have an Economy 7 smart meter?
The current smart meters can work in an Economy 7 mode. So if you have an EDF Economy 7 meter but would like a smart meter, book your installation in MyAccount or call us on 0333 200 5104 to chat through your needs.
6. Does Economy 7 still exist? Can I get it?
We don't install E7 meters anymore, or have a tariff called ‘Economy 7’. We do offer a great range of energy tariffs and smart meters though.
A lot of people have E7 meters that may not be right for them anymore. Check your electricity use and compare energy tariffs to make sure you're on the best plan for your needs. If you’re unsure about switching, read our blog about choosing the best tariff or have a look at our switching suppliers guide.
7. What is the difference between Economy 7 and Economy 10 meters? Are there other meter types?
In a nutshell, Economy 10 gives you 10 hours of electricity at lower rate. It’s a bit more complicated than that though! That’s why they’re known as ‘complex meters’.
What is a complex meter?
A complex meter is basically any meter other than single rate or Economy 7. Meters like Economy 9, Heatwise and Warmwise.
Why is Economy 10 known as a complex meter?
They're called 'complex' because they usually have two or more rates. So your 'off-peak' rates could be grouped throughout the day and night. Depending on the time of year, here's an example of what E10 off-peak times could be;
- Three off-peak hours in the afternoon (e.g. 1pm - 4pm)
- Two in the evening (e.g. 8pm - 10pm)
- Five overnight (e.g. 12am - 5am)
You need to be really organised when on E10 because the electricity rate during peak hours will probably be a lot higher, so could end up costing more than you think. They're not called 'complex' for nothing!
Are there other types of complex meters?
In a word - lots! Some complex meters are restricted by property type, some are restricted by which distribution area you're in. Not sure which distribution network you're in? Check out the Ofgem website to find out more. Here's a summary of some of the most common complex meters;
• 2 MPAN E10 (3 Register) – Available in the Eastern distribution area only, this meter has three off-peak periods specifically for heating and hot water. This means you have to have your heating and hot water on a separate circuit to the rest of your home electricity supply. All other electricity use (washing machines, hairdryers etc) would be charged at the relevant day or night rate.
• Cyclocontrol – You'll find this system in blocks of flats and maisonettes in the London area. It controls shared heating and hot water and can be operated to respond to varying demand for heating and hot water, depending on the weather. This spreads the demand for electricity across an area evenly during the day.
• 2 MPAN Economy 9 – This meter provides nine hours of cheaper electricity grouped throughout the day and night, specifically for heating and hot water. All other electricity use (washing machines, hairdryers etc) would be charged at the relevant day or night rate.
• Heatwise – Available in the East Midlands distribution area, this meter is only for heating and hot water. This means you have to have your heating and hot water on a separate circuit to the rest of your home electricity supply. There are three different off-peak times; three hours in the afternoon, two hours in the evening and five hours overnight.
• Off-peak (type 1, type 2 and type U) – These are only available in the South East, South West and London distribution areas. Off-peak meters offer cheaper electricity at times chunked together during the day or night.
• Warmwise – These provide eight hours of cheaper electricity specifically for heating and hot water at various times of the day. This means you have to have your heating and hot water on a separate circuit from the rest of your home electricity supply. All other electricity use (washing machines, hairdryers etc) would be charged at the relevant day or night rate.
If you're an EDF customer you can find the current rates for complex meters if you're on the standard variable tariff.
If you're still not sure what type of meter you have you can check your bill, or contact your supplier to find out more. Additionally, if you want to learn more about electricity and electric meters you can find out more with our blog on electricity meters.