Is electricity cheaper at night?

If you have an Economy 7 meter you could cut your bills by running appliances while you sleep, as they make electricity cheaper at night. But there are a few things to keep in mind.

Terraced street with streetlight
What time your nighttime electricity rate kicks in depends on your supplier
(Image credit: © Adam Lister/Getty Images)

We’re all trying to find ways to reduce energy bills as the cost of living continues to rise – from changing the settings on your boiler to considering the best time to turn the central heating on.

If you’re on a standard meter, you will pay the same price for each unit of energy at any given time in the day. However homes which rely on electricity for both heating and hot water will usually have an Economy 7 meter. These have overnight rates, which could make your electricity rate cheaper at night.

With energy prices potentially set to go up in 2023 and the government’s Energy Price Guarantee coming to an end in April 2023, now is a good time to think of all the ways to cut rising bills.

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Why does Economy 7 make electricity cheaper at night?

Under the government’s energy price guarantee – which will now only run until April instead of until 2024 as previously announced – you pay 34p per unit of electricity. With an Economy 7 meter, you could be paying around 10p per unit less with night time rates.

So basically, you pay a daytime rate and a nighttime rate, but what time your nighttime rate kicks in depends on your supplier. For the most part, however, the night rate will run from 11pm to 6am, midnight to 7am or 1am to 8am.

Make sure you know your time window as going over could significantly increase the cost of running your appliances. Some providers will ask you to provide two readings – one per rate. Note these down correctly as mixing up day and night readings could lead to you being overcharged.

If you do choose to run them at night, you might want to invest in a plug-in timer which will turn appliances on at a pre-set time, saving you having to get up in the middle of the night to put a wash on.

But keep in mind, a cheaper nighttime rate doesn’t guarantee savings. The cost per unit can be more expensive during the daytime.

Keep safety in mind when running appliances at night

It’s worth keeping in mind that running appliances at night can be a safety issue, and no saving is worth potentially endangering your home.

Don’t run appliances with a high wattage or a motor, as these pose a fire risk and should only be used when you’re able to keep an eye on them.

Nicole García Mérida

Nic studied for a BA in journalism at Cardiff University, and has an MA in magazine journalism from City University. She joined MoneyWeek in 2019.