The cost of heating your home is set to soar further this winter, as the worldwide chaos in the energy market starts to bite deeper.
Thirteen power suppliers have gone bust since the start of September, leaving their former customers with different suppliers, who are probably charging substantially more than they were expecting to pay.
In addition, the energy cap has risen for everyone, meaning many families are really feeling the chill of paying more for their power on top of increased food and petrol prices.
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Hard-pressed householders looking for deals to keep their energy bills as low as possible may be considering different ways to cut costs by looking at less conventional tariffs, such as Economy 7.
You've probably heard of Economy 7, which is electricity only, but the tariff should be considered with caution.
Done right, it can save you money. Done wrong, it can cost you more.
Here we answer your questions about Economy 7 and see if it's worth switching this year.
What is Economy 7?
Put simply, Economy 7 tariffs give cheaper rates during the night at the cost of more expensive ones during the day.
The cheaper, or off-peak, rate usually kicks in at midnight to 7am, while the daytime rate covers the rest of the day, so from 7am til midnight.
Seven hours of cheaper electricity - hence the name Economy 7.
Is Economy 7 cheaper?
If you have storage heaters, or you use most of your electricity overnight, then it can work out cheaper.
The problem comes with daytime rates, which can be massively more expensive than more standard tariff's standard rate.
So if you use most of your electricity during the day and evening, the benefit of cheaper overnight power will be cancelled out by the more expensive rate you will pay for the bulk of your usage.
Can I check if I am already on Economy 7?
The quickest way is to check your bill. An Economy 7 bill shows both night-time and daytime readings.
If you only have one reading, you are not on Economy 7.
Is Economy 7 right for me?
If you heat your home with storage heaters, Economy 7 can probably help you save cash.
As a rule of thumb, if you use about 40% of your electricity at night, and use electric storage heating in the cheap period as well as setting appliances to run at this time, then it's worth considering, especially if everything in your home is powered by electricity.
Drivers who power electric cars overnight may benefit too.
How do I switch to Economy 7?
Economy 7 tariffs require the installation of a second meter in your home to record your overnight consumption separately from your day-time consumption.
Check that your supplier offers Economy 7, as not all do, and checklthe tariff against the cheapest available flat-rate tariff using a price comparison website such as MSE's Cheap Energy Club.
If you work out Economy 7 will save you money, ask your supplier to install an Economy 7 meter â€“ this should be free but some suppliers may charge up to Â£50
How do I leave Economy 7?
If you're on Economy 7 and have found you'd save more by being on a normal single-rate tariff, you may be able to switch without the need to change your meter.
Check if your current provider, or the supplier you want to switch to, will let you move to a single-rate tariff without the need to change your meter.
If you're struggling to find one, you will need to get your meter changed. All of the big six providers (British Gas, EDF, E.on, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE) will change your meter for free. and put you onto a standard flat-rate tarrif.
What about Economy 10?
That's even more complicated, and is not as common as Economy 7.
Unsurprisingly, it gives 10 hours of cheaper electricity rather than seven.
But the cheaper hours are usually split into three different periods, so you get extra boosts of cheap electricity during the day.
It needs an Economy 10 meter, and only EDF, Npower and SSE have customers on specific Economy 10 tariffs and they don't promote the tariff to new customers.
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