Is there a cheaper time to use electricity? ‘Off peak’ energy myth fact checked

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The energy price cap has risen by 54 percent, adding around £693 to the average annual household bill. With living expenses at a new high, bill payers across the UK are looking for easy ways to slash their expenditure, but is time-savvy energy usage really the way to do it? This is the ‘off peak’ electricity myth fact-checked.

Ofgem’s April energy price cap rise has arrived, but it’s just the beginning for UK households.

Experts predict that families could be hit with further increases from October, with estimates suggesting that the cap could see a further £600 rise.

With a bleak future on the horizon for energy customers, the unaffordable rates are forcing millions of Brits to seek out clever ways to make their income go further, and strategic energy usage is just one thing many of us will consider.

The myth that electricity is cheaper to use at night is not entirely far-fetched, but to what extent is it true?

Is there a cheaper time to use electricity?

According to Gareth Kloet, energy spokesperson at GoCompare, some energy tariffs do mean that energy can cost less at night.

He said: “This is because suppliers sometimes charge you a cheaper rate in off-peak periods, which typically fall overnight – when the majority of people are sleeping and therefore using less energy.”

The reason this works is because demand can sometimes outstrip supply during peak periods.

The Energy Saving Trust said: “Typically, gas or diesel-powered plants fire up to meet that demand, adding to the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions.

“This reactive energy production is expensive, causing price spikes.”

While it is possible to benefit from cheaper electricity during the night, you must be on the right energy tariff.

Money saving expert Martin Lewis has cleared up the advice about the best time to use your washing machine and other electronic devices to keep energy bills low.

He told viewers of ITV’s This Morning: “The vast majority of people pay the same amount for electricity whenever you use it.”

He added: “That only applies to the limited people who are on ‘time of use’ tariffs which is not most people.”

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Who could benefit from time of use tariffs?

Energy customers who are on standard fixed tariffs are currently better off than most if they secured the tariff before the April price cap rise.

The majority of households are not currently on a TOU tariff, but there are some key groups that could benefit from being on one.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, owners of electric vehicles could benefit “massively” from this type of tariff as they can charge their vehicle during periods of low demand.

In fact, EV owners can even feed energy back into the grid at peak times, as long as their car is not in use.

Should you switch to a time of use tariff?

Though it may seem tempting to seek out the cheapest energy supply, the trust has warned against switching.

The ongoing UK energy crisis has forced many “cheaper” electric vehicle tariffs to be inflated or removed for new customers, leaving little point in making the move.

Current advice from the Energy Saving Trust is to stay with your current provider until the situation changes.

For now, you are unlikely to make any savings by using electric appliances in the evening, so it is best to simply limit your usage as much as you can to keep costs low.

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