Timing really is everything when you pay for your electricity with the Economy 7 tariff. This pricing structure, which allows consumers to pay a lower rate for their electricity for seven hours out of every day, is often misused by many people at home. Just as you can save money by making the best use of the tariff, timing your energy usage unwisely can end up costing you. There are a few habits you should try to change if you want to save as much as possible on electricity when you have this tariff.
Figure out the exact hours of your cheap period – Electric companies aren’t always the most transparent about exactly when your usage meter will switch over to the lower rate. The only thing that they guarantee is that you will have a full seven hours of cheaper electricity. It is your responsibility, therefore, to figure out what your cheap hours are. The electric company might have told you that your seven hours are from 11:00pm until 6:00am, but the clock on your meter might be off by up to an hour. Check that clock and make note of its time. Then always go by that clock when you time your activities. If your meter is older and doesn’t have a clock, start an energy-intensive device (like an air conditioner or dishwasher) and go watch your meter. Meters meant for this tariff have two displays: one for the higher rate and another for the lower. You will be able to see when one meter stops counting and the other begins. Make a note of that time as the beginning of your seven hours.
Run certain devices only during the cheaper hours – If you think about all of your electrical appliances, several will probably come to mind as using the most energy. From your washer and dryer to your printer and from your dishwasher to your vacuum cleaner, you will know what devices constantly seem to cost you the most money to run. By only using these devices during the lower-rate period each day, you will ensure that you don’t spend anywhere near as much to do some of the most basic activities around the house. If you want to vacuum the floors, therefore, just wait until 11:00pm and do it before bed. Similarly, start your dishwasher before turning in for the night and you can wake up to clean dishes. Alternately, you can make sure to print any necessary documents first thing in the morning before your cheap period has ended.
Adjust your sleep schedule – You may be fretting because you are realizing that the seven hours of discounted electricity are those that you usually spend sleeping. While this is the case for most consumers, you don’t have to modify your schedule by all that much to ensure you are still awake for one or more of these hours. If your period of lower rates starts at 11:00pm, try to stay up until at least midnight a few nights a week to get some of your chores done. Laundry, for example, probably only needs to be done once or twice a week. If staying up until that hour is impossible for you, maybe you are more of an early riser. In that case, try to get up at 5:00am some mornings and start off your day by getting things done. The schedule for this tariff, while limiting, shouldn’t be impossible to benefit from.
Change heating and cooling habits – If you have a storage heater, you should always charge it during the seven hours when electricity is cheaper. You can then release your heat in spurts throughout the day as necessary. For those with non-storage heaters, however, you can also time your usage to make the most of your money. Run your heater at its highest levels early in the morning during the last few hours of the off-peak rate so that your home gets extra warm before the changeover. When the more expensive hours begin, turn off your heater and keep it off for as long as possible. If your home is well-insulated, it should take a while before it starts getting too cold. The same is true for air conditioners during the summer.
By utilizing good judgment when deciding how to use your electricity, you can make the most of your cheapest hours. Establishing good energy habits is the best way to utilize Economy 7.