Frequently Asked Questions
What is Economy 10?
- Economy 10 (E10 for short) is a type of electricity meter. It gives you 10 hours of cheap off-peak electricity per day.
- Economy 10 is also the tariff‘ you need from your electricity company if you have an E10 meter (there are exceptions, but this is the general principle.
Economy 10 refers to both the meter and electricity tariff. It doesn’t describe any of the wiring or heating systems in your home.
Getting a Quote
Economy 10 meters are classed as “complex meters” and prices aren’t advertised by energy companies or switching sites. We regularly speak with suppliers and give you access to the latest Economy 10 prices:
Most companies will only quote by phone, although some might give you a quote by email. If you do phone, make sure you clearly mention you have an Economy 10 meter so the call centre can put you through to the right team. It can be a bit hit-and-miss depending on who you speak to. Many of our users will phone the supplier back just to double-check details before committing!
Different Regions = Different Prices
Be aware that the price you’re quoted for electricity depends on the Supplier and the Region of the UK you’re in.
Each of the 14 UK regions has its own electricity distribution grid. These are managed by the local Distribution Network Operators (DNOs). They all face slightly different costs which are included in the price you pay for electricity.
E10 vs E7
Both are two-rate meters, with peak and off-peak readings, but:
- Economy 7 gives you 7 hours off-peak electricity in a single block overnight.
- Economy 10 gives you 10 hours off-peak electricity in three blocks throughout the day and night. This is useful if you want a boost in the afternoon or evening.
If you have storage heaters on E7 they tend to get too hot in the morning, and too cold at night. Using E10 would keep them ‘topped up’ through the day.
Inside the meter is a time-clock that switches between peak and off-peak times Any electricity you use in those times is recorded as either peak or offpeak.
The off-peak times are manually programmed into your meter by a technician and are generally based on where you are in the UK. Suppliers can’t change these times unless they change your meter.
The typical times for Economy 10 are:
04:30 – 07:30 (3hrs)
13:30 – 16:30 (3hrs)
20:30 – 00:30 (4hrs)
England & Wales:
00:00 – 05:00 (5hrs)
13:00 – 16:00 (3hrs)
20:00 – 22:00 (2hrs)
Some E10 meters don’t switch from GMT to BST – if you have one of these it can be 1 hour out through the summer (ie. 1-6am, 2-5pm, 9-11pm for England in the summer). Its worth physically standing next to your meter around the change-over time to hear when it’s switching from peak to off-peak.
In practice the off-peak times can be a few minute earlier or later, but still provide 10 hours of off-peak electricity in total. This is to avoid all electrical loads coming on at exactly the same time and potentially overloading the grid.
However it seems that some people might be on significantly different times from these – either the time timeclock is wrong, or it doesn’t switch to British Summer Time. If you’re one of these people, then please post in the forum and keep us updated.
Full vs Partial support
Only some suppliers fully support Economy 10 meters, and some offer partial support:
- Full support: they have a specific Economy 10 tariff. This is the ideal situation and usually means the supplier knows what they’re talking about. Also, they should be able to fix your E10 meter if it goes faulty. Some will install a new E10 meter if you don’t already have one.
- Partial support: generally they offer you an Economy 7 tariff for use with your E10 meter. In this case the supplier doesn’t ‘fully’ support E10, but they can supply your electricity. They apply their E7 prices to the peak & off-peak readings from you E10 meter. However if there’s a problem with your E10 meter they may not be able to fix it, and may have to swap it out for a standard meter. Each supplier has its own policy so it’s worth checking, and get it in writing if possible.
2-rate vs 3-rate
Most ‘typical’ Economy 10 meters have two rates – Peak and Offpeak. The whole house is supplied from this meter, and all electricity is recorded against peak or off-peak rates according to the time of day.
Some meters have a third rate called a ‘heat’ rate. These are technically not Economy 10 meters, although they’re generally called that for shorthand. They may also be called something like HeatWise if you’re in East Midlands. The ‘heat’ rate refers to a separate dedicated circuit, which is wired into your hot water and heating, and only switches on in the off-peak times. This means you will have three meter readings:
- Peak – general household electricity in the peak times
- Off-peak – general household electricity in the off-peak times
- Heat – electricity used when the dedicated heating/hot water circuit comes on.
These can be harder to switch to another supplier, but it’s still possible if you speak to suppliers ‘complex metering’ teams.
1, 2, or 3 MPANs?
An MPAN is a Meter Point Administration Number, and it is a unique reference for your meter. It’s used by energy suppliers to identify your supply. Usually a meter has just one MPAN (with two rates), but occasionally there are two MPANS (if you have three rates) – confusing, I know!
If you have one MPAN it’s generally easy to switch supplier. If you have two or more MPANS it can be trickier but worth phoning the supplier to discuss your options.
It might also be worth having an electrician check the wiring in your house to see if it’s configured in the most efficient way.
Should I Get an Economy 10 Meter?
E10 might work out cheaper than a Standard or E7 meter, but only if you can shift your electricity usage into the off-peak times. It depends on the type of heating you have.
Most of the energy used in a house is for heating (and hot water). If you use electricity for this, you could take advantage of the cheap off-peak times to run your heating.
You need to set up your heating system to match the off-peak times, and avoid using the more expensive peak times.
Select your heating system:
Suitable for Economy 10? YES, ideal
Most storage heaters are on E7 – they charge overnight, are roasting in the morning, but leave the house cold by the evening.
Using storage heaters with E10 works even better. You get a boost in the afternoon and again in the evening which smooths the temperature.
Suitable for Economy 10? YES, ideal
Economy 10 is ideal when combined with an air-source heat pump (ASHP) or ground-source heat pump (GSHP).
Running the heat pump in the off-peak period means the cost of heating could end up cheaper than gas. If your home is poorly insulated you might want to consider adding a heat battery to smooth the temperature between offpeak times.
Suitable for Economy 10? MAYBE
If your home is well insulated then Economy 10 works well with panel radiators. You set your heating to come on during the off-peak periods, heating your home 3x times per day. Having a room thermostat fitted can help make this easy and automated.
If your home is poorly insulated then it can cool down quickly when the heating is off (in between the offpeak times), and may not be so effective.
Suitable for Economy 10? MAYBE
If your home is well insulated then Economy 10 works well with wet electric heating. You set your heating to come on during the off-peak periods, heating your home 3x times per day. Having a room thermostat fitted can help make this easy and automated.
If your home is poorly insulated then it can cool down quickly when the heating is off (in between the offpeak times), and may not be so effective. Adding heat storage could help smooth the temperature and make E10 an effective option.
Suitable for Economy 10? NO
Why? Most of your energy (heating & hot water) is already supplied by cheap gas. You only use electricity for lights and appliances, which are relatively efficient these days.
If you’ve got a gas boiler you’re probably best choosing a standard electricity tariff and shopping around using a price comparison website.
The UK’s electricity grid is currently under strain; a recent government report suggested that for winter 2017/18 there was only 10% spare capacity in our electricity system. However this issue is because of peak electricity use, not average use. If we can shift our usage away from peak times, we will be doing the electrical grid a favour (as well as our pockets, and the environment).
Economy 10 meters encourage us to shift our usage into off-peak periods by charging us substantially less during those times.