Is Economy 7 right for me?

I changed to bulb one month ago. I have been on economy 7 for many years but am wondering if I am paying over the odds and should change to a standard tariff. I live in a standard three bedroom inter-war house. Gas heating and water. I run the usual fridge, freezer etc, and try to use my washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher between 05:00 and 08:00. This is not always practical, and I sometimes have to use these appliances during the day. Has anyone any advice, please? Would I have to have a new meter installed if I changed to a regular tariff?

Hi @Doodle02,

To answer your last question first, yes, you can switch to a ‘single rate meter’ (and it would, at the moment, necessity a physical meter replacement). The cost to switch meters with Bulb is £120 to cover the engineers time, but Bulb are rolling out SMETS2 smart meters this year which will be a free swap/exchange (so no £120 charge) and Bulb will be able to remotely change the tariff set - so you could save money by waiting.

But whether it’s worth it for you… Tricky based on that information - my ‘gut’ feeling says ‘probably’, but only you can tell. If you take the last couple of months electricity bills from any supplier (you ideally want more than 1 months to get an ‘average’) and then total up the number of kWh (not the £ value) you used on ‘off-peak’ times and the same for ‘on peak’. Then total them together to get a ‘overall [single rate] total’.

For example:
Total Off-peak: 200 kWh
Total Peak: 300 kWh
Overall total: 500 kWh

Then go to Tariff | Bulb and key in your postcode (near the bottom) and select ‘I have an Economy 7 meter’ (ignore the dual fuel/gas and standing charges rates/settings). Multiple the off-peak by the night unit rate (in my case it’s 8.201p per kWh: giving 1640.2) and the total peak by the day unit rate (my case it’s 15.383p: giving 4614.9). That’ll give you a ‘average ‘x’ months Economy 7 usage bill’ (in mine 6255.1 - that’s £62.55 for my made up 3 months).

Deselect the ‘Economy 7’ and the multiple the overall total by the new single rate (my case is 13.262 ) giving a usage cost of 6631 - that’s £66.31 for 3 months…

So for my made up figures, it’s around £4 cheaper to stay on Economy 7 for three months - £1.25 per month.

If it’s cheaper for you to switch to a single rate and you are saving more than £10 a month by switching, it may be worth asking Bulb to change your meter ‘now’ (as if it takes to December for SMETS2 meters to be installed in your area, then you’ve broken even - if it takes longer, then you are ‘in profit’: if it’s less than £10, it’s probably not worth paying to switch).

Remember these figures are ignoring the standing charge prices so you bill(s) will be slightly higher and whilst based on averages, your actually kWh usages will vary throughout the year/what you do etc.

Hope it helps.

Thank you Richy, that is really helpful.

Joined bulb 1st November and unexpectedly found myself on Economy 7. It’s a medium size house with oil central heating.
November bill showed approx. 10% of my units used were on the night rate.
Made an effort to nocturnalise; putting the immersion heater, dishwasher and washing machine on timers. December bill the night rate usage was up to 30%. Which I consider is almost enough to justify the dual rate.

Yep, MSE in Economy 7: How to max your savings - Money Saving Expert suggest 40% is the ‘cut-off’, but that’ll vary depending on the rates.