Economy 7 is a power tariff that differs from the conventional one. Instead of paying a flat, fixed, rate, you have at least two different rates. First, you have a fixed or standard rate (some companies divide this into two charges, allowing for a fixed rate and a “standard rate” during various times of the day). Then, you have a discounted rate.
The discounted rate is charged during off-peak times. An off-peak time is when electricity consumption is at its lowest. This is when energy companies are most prone to offer discounts, since they need to encourage more people to switch over to nighttime use. Ultimately, they’re trying to reduce the stress placed on the grid by heavy daytime usage.
Whether or not an economy 7 program will work for you depends on whether you’re willing to make some changes to how you use energy – as well as the type of hardware you use around the home.
Switch To Energy-Saving Bulbs and Appliances
More modern CFL or LED bulbs promise increased energy savings. While these are helpful during the off-peak hours, it’s unlikely you’ll be using them much during that time. No, the energy-saving bulbs are for peak usage. Because it’s common for energy companies to raise peak hour cost per kwh, you need to offset that increase in cost with a higher-efficiency bulb around the home.
It probably wouldn’t hurt to upgrade appliances while you’re at it. This is an investment that will eventually pay off for you if energy prices continue to climb over time.
Switches will allow you to take advantage of off-peak usage for things like washing machines, dish washers, and other appliances you normally run during the day. Just set the timer, and you can control when your appliances run. No need to burn up the peak hour kwhs.
Of course, there’s a limit to what you can run during the night, but setting a timer for various appliances will help you get the most out of the program where it makes sense.
For example, most people do their laundry during the day. It’s natural to do so, since you can wash and dry clothes, then fold them. But, if you use an energy-saving program, you’ll want to wash your clothes at night, hang dry them (or buy a combination washer/dryer unit that will wash and dry in the same machine and run it at night), and load up the dish washer at night.
Run Full Loads In the Washer
If you have to wash during the day, make sure you wash full loads and not just partials. While it might seem like you use more water with a larger load, the opposite is actually true. You use much more water on smaller loads – plus, you end up using more soap since you’re using detergent for each load instead of having to make suds for just one.
Running a full dryer works on the same principle. You’ll use less energy drying a full load than you will trying to dry a partial load – except when the dryer is too full. Don’t overfill the dryer. Just put in enough to optimise the energy usage. By drying smaller loads, you’ll heat up more space around the clothes, but this heat dissipates and ultimately is wasted. Running full loads minimises this waste.
The same holds true for dish washers. Since dish washers use the same amount of water regardless of the size of the load, it pays to stuff as many dishes as you can in the washer before running it.
Dress In Layers Inside
Turn down the heat, and layer on the clothing. Instead of walking around with a short-sleeve shirt on, put on a jumper. It might not be the most fashionable thing, but it will keep you warm and it saves you money on heating costs.
Along the same lines, buy thick blankets, and get cosy on the couch. Between the layered clothing, and the blankets, you probably won’t need to set the thermostat very high.
Only Boil As Much Water As You Need When Making Tea
You love tea. Who doesn’t? The problem is that it’s easy to boil more than you need – thinking you might have a whole pot. Don’t do it. Just boil enough for yourself (or a guest) and no more. be realistic with your tea consumption. If you don’t normally drink more than three cups, don’t boil an entire pot. It wastes valuable electricity.
Take Up Reading In The Evening
Watching T.V. and playing video games has become the new normal. Why not pick up a good book instead? It costs a lot less money to run the lights than it does to run the television – especially if you have energy-saving bulbs.
Even Kindles are a more energy-efficient option over running the T.V. You’ll learn something new, go on an adventure, or put yourself at ease before bed while reading a book.
Go Out During The Day
This one is easy if you’re working. You likely spend a good deal of the day away from home. But you should also consider staying out of the home until it gets to be closer to bedtime. Just don’t hang out in pubs or places where you might spend more money than if you had just stayed at home. Remember, the idea is to save money on electricity during peak hours.
Work The Night Shift
If you have the option, it might be worth it to switch to the night shift. You’ll sleep during the day, when peak electricity is costing you the most money, and you’ll be awake during the times when energy is cheap. On your days off, you’ll save a lot of money, even if you don’t want to make any serious lifestyle changes.
Have An Overnight Cooking Party
Choose a weekend when you’ll commit to making an entire week’s worth of food (or a month’s worth) in an entire evening. Invite your best mates over to help you (if they’re up for it). Make it an “overnight party.” You’ll stay up all night long – cooking into the wee hours of the morning (and using cheap electricity). Why do this? When you make meals every day, it uses up a lot of electricity. By making up food in advance, you can pop dinners into the microwave – saving you a lot of prep time and money. Sure, you’ll be using electricity to make your food, but you’ll find that it will pale in comparison to constantly starting and stopping the stove every night.
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