Why do I have Multiple Meters or Multiple Rates?

Most people only have one meter in their home/business so it can be very confusing to suddenly encounter new kinds of meters with multiple tariffs. Here is a breakdown of the different types of meters, what they all cost and what they all do.

Types of meters:

Standard meterStandard meters record the gas or electricity you use on a single rate
multi-rate meter (two-rate meter)A meter with two rates, one for daytime and one for night time
multi-rate meters (three-rate meter)A meter with three rates, one for daytime, one for night time and one for weekends
multi-site metersMultiple separate meters on different sites
Related Meterstwo separate electricity meters, or one meter with two supply points

What are multi-rate meters?

Multi-rate meters offer cheaper kWh unit prices for “off-peak” times over the 24hour period of the day. Off-peak times can include night rates and weekends rates. These have different tariffs to the standard rate, called either Economy 7 or Economy 10, both offering the opportunity to save a significant amount of money on energy bills for suitable users.

The off-peak times will vary depending on:

Two-rate meter – this is sometimes known as an Economy 7 meter, a two-rate meter differentiates between peak and off-peak usage, charging less for off-peak times. Economy 7 times usually are classes between 10 pm and 8:30 am – but some suppliers time may be slightly different.

Three-rate meter – this meter takes weekend usage into consideration, alongside, peak and off-peak supply, charging all three rates at different rates. If you’re using energy over the weekend, this would be the best choice for your business.

Multi-rate meters vs multi-site meters

Larger business will benefit from multi-site meters if they have multiple different premises. However, each company should assess how much energy they actually use, to determine the best meter.

Do you already have a multi rate meter?

Even though multi-rate meters look like a standard meters, a multi-rate meter will have small grey writing above the screen to tell you if the meter is multi-rate. The digital display will alternate between two or three readings (this depends on whether you are on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff).

Details on Economy 7

Economy 7 (also known as a ‘differential’ or ‘multi-rate’ tariff) is an energy plan that can help you pay less for your electricity. 

With Economy 7, you’ll pay cheaper rates for 7 hours during the night. The difference in cost could be up to 50%, depending on your electricity supplier.

If you have storage heating and hot water then Economy 7 is the most appropriate choice as you can heat up on your off-peak, overnight rate; giving you heating and hot water throughout the day. Storage heaters should be wired to only use the off-peak rate, and water heaters can be timed to come on overnight.

All the electricity you use during the off-peak times is charged at cheaper rate, not just your heating and hot water bills. Energy used outside of these times may be more expensive than the standard rate.

Off peak times:

Economy 7 times for each area

How to read an Economy 7 meter

Reading the meter will be slightly different for each meter depending on the kind you have.

The first type has 2 displays. The top row (marked “normal”) shows your daytime rate electricity and the bottom row (marked “Low”) shows your night-time rate. 

The second type of meter has a single row of numbers showing your day rate electricity usage. To see the reading for your night-time rate, press the red button.

It’s possible to get a smart meter for Multi-rate Meters. Smart meters help you to more easily spot patterns in your gas and electricity use, so you can find out where to make savings. Having a smart meter means no more meter readings or estimated bills. And that also helps you to waste less energy and cut your carbon emissions.

Details on Economy 10

Economy 10 works pretty much the same way as Economy 7 except that, you’ll get 10 hours of cheaper electricity rather than 7. With Economy 10, 3 of the cheaper hours are usually offered in the afternoon, with 7 more overnight.

 Credit meter GMTCredit meter BSTPAYG meter GMTPAYG meter BST
Southern Scotland (MPAN 18)4.30am – 7.30am
1.00pm – 4.00pm
8.30pm – 12.30am
4.30am – 7.30am
1.00pm – 4.00pm
8.30pm – 12.30am
4.30am – 7.30am
1.00pm – 4.00pm
8.30pm – 12.30am
5.30am – 8.30am
2.00pm – 5.00pm
9.30pm – 1.30am
Northern Scotland (MPAN 17)4.30am – 7.30am
1.30pm – 4.30pm
8.30pm – 12.30am
4.30am – 7.30am
1.30pm – 4.30pm
8.30pm – 12.30am
4.30am – 7.30am
1.30pm – 4.30pm
8.30pm – 12.30am
5.30am – 8.30am
2.30pm – 5.30pm
9.30pm – 1.30am
Merseyside and Northern Wales (MPAN 13)4.30am – 7.30am
1.00pm – 4.00pm
8.30pm – 12.30am
4.30am – 7.30am
1.00pm – 4.00pm
8.30pm – 12.30am
4.30am – 7.30am
1.00pm – 4.00pm
8.30pm – 12.30am
5.30am – 8.30am
2.00pm – 5.00pm
9.30pm – 1.30am
All other areas12.00am – 5.00am
1.00pm – 4.00pm
8.00pm – 10.00pm
1.00am – 6.00am
2.00pm – 5.00pm
9.00pm – 11.00pm
12.00am – 5.00am
1.00pm – 4.00pm
8.00pm – 10.00pm
1.00am – 6.00am
2.00pm – 5.00pm
9.00pm – 11.00pm

When considering whether to get a Multi-rate meter you should also think about:

Think aboutBecause
Whether you can use more than half your electricity during the night if not, you’ll probably end up paying over the odds, because you’ll be using too much electricity during the day, at the more expensive rate.  
Whether your appliances have timers unless you regularly stay up until midnight or 1am, you’ll need to set a timer to switch them on at night, when the Economy 7 off-peak hours begin.  
Your lifestyle if you drive an electric vehicle, and it works for you to charge it overnight, for example, Economy 7 could be ideal.

Other types of Meters

Total Heating, Total Control (THTC) meters

THTC meters are only used in certain parts of Scotland. They’re good if you use electricity to heat your home and water, and are at home most of the day. Electricity for your heating and hot water records on one meter and the rest on a different meter. You’ll get between five and twelve hours a day of heating from your storage heaters. The supplier will put these on for you and check the weather forecast to find out the best times to do so.

Storage heating control (SHC) meters

SHC meters are only used in some areas of Scotland. This meter type runs alongside your heating, whether it’s electric or gas, and gives you an extra boost. It records eight hours of low-cost heating through your storage heaters. This includes at least three hours between 10pm and 10am and two hours between 10am and 10pm. Any other energy you use is recorded through another meter.

Flexiheat/Superdeal meters

These meters are only available in certain parts of England and are used in homes with all electric heating. Flexiheat and Superdeal meters record the electricity you use on three-meter readings; one for ‘day’, one for ‘night’ and one for ‘stored heat’. The ‘stored heat’ meter reading records for seven hours to charge your storage heaters. Superdeal meters also store two hours of heat for the afternoon so you’ll keep warm throughout the day.

Related Meters

Having related meters means you may have two separate electricity meters, or one meter with two supply points. A supply point is how suppliers provide and charge for electricity. Most meters just have one. 

For more information about this post and how Energy Solutions can help with your Electricity, Gas, or Water, click on the links, or check out the contact details at the bottom of the page.