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Could You Save Money With a White Meter?

Updated on November 25, 2013

Off-Peak Price Plans Aim to Shift Consumer Habits

With the total UK demand for electricity going up every single year, energy companies are seeking to shift some of that demand into those times when demand is currently lower. One very successful way of achieving this goal has been to introduce electricity tariffs that provide substantial discounts for customers who use energy during off-peak periods, such as during the night.

Commonly known as Economy 7, Economy 10, off-peak, or white meter plans, these discounted electricity price plans are available across the UK. However, you will first need to have a special type of electricity meter, sometimes known as a white meter, installed in order to use this type of tariff.

How Much Do White Meter Tariffs Cost?

Once fitted, your white meter will record how much electricity you use during on-peak and off-peak periods. You then pay a discounted rate for electricity that you use during the off-peak period, and a higher rate for the electricity you use during the day. If you successfully shift your usage to take place primarily at night, you could stand to save tens or even hundreds of pounds on your electricity bill.

Savings could be particularly large if you have a boiler that is powered using electricity. Typically, electric boilers are often slightly more expensive to run than ones that are powered by gas. A white meter price plan may allow you to bring down the cost by allowing you to access discounted electricity prices at certain times of day.

Electricity is essential for modern life, but too many consumers feel they are paying over the odds for their supply.
Electricity is essential for modern life, but too many consumers feel they are paying over the odds for their supply. | Source

Do You Have a White Meter Tariff?

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When is Electricity Cheapest?

The exact length and timing of the off-peak period depends on the particular price plan that you sign up to. Most white meter price plans operate on an Economy 7 model, where the off-peak period is seven hours long and runs from midnight to 7 am, or from 1 am to 8 am.

You can also get an Economy 10 tariff, which has ten off-peak hours running from late in the evening until early the next day. This plan gives you slightly more flexibility about when you use your appliances and central heating system.

How Much Does a White Meter Cost?

You may have to pay a fee to have your white meter installed. However, if the plan is suitable for you, then you could quickly recoup this fee through savings in your energy bills. Different providers charge different fees, so it pays to compare the various tariffs that are available before you switch. In general, you can expect to pay anything up to around £50, depending on which provider you choose.

Economy 7 Meter
Economy 7 Meter | Source

Will You Save Money?

Of course, the £64,000 question is whether you will actually save any money by moving to a white meter tariff. Frustratingly, the answer is "it depends". More specifically, whether or not you will save depends on your habits and the house you live in.

If you fall into one of the following categories, then you are likely to save money by using an Economy 7 or Economy 10 price plan.

  • Storage Heater Household: Storage heaters use electricity to get themselves hot during the night, and then they release that warmth during the day. This method of heating is perfect for use with an off-peak tariff.
  • Shift Worker: Have a schedule that forces you to be up and about during the night? Regularly find yourself turning on the heating and taking a hot shower while most other people are still in bed? If so, then you could save money on this type of price plan.
  • Programmable Appliances: If you can program your washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher, and other appliances to come on at night rather than during the day, then you could save money with a white meter price plan.
  • Electric Car Owner: Electric cars usually need their batteries charging overnight, so that they are ready to use the next day. Switch to a white meter tariff and you could use cheap electricity to keep your motor running.

On the other hand, if you use all of your electricity during the day, then this type of price plan is obviously not for you.

Confused about whether or not to go for a white meter tariff? Try comparing all the options via a price comparison website to see how much you could save in each case.

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