Is Electricity Cheaper At Night?

Cheap electricity at night

Homes and businesses use significant amounts of electricity everyday which, especially during peak times, can put a strain on the county’s energy networks. To try to alleviate this, off-peak periods have been established, during which electricity can be charged at a lower rate. These times depend on where you live and the type of meter you have but are usually at night (around 11pm-7am) and during the weekend.

Peak, shoulder, off peak - what do they mean?

These are the terms for the three periods that tend to be used to delineate different pricing brackets based on when you use your electricity. The price of electricity is highest during ‘peak‘ times as this is when the demand for electricity is at its highest. ‘Shoulder‘ periods are charged at a reduced rate to reflect the reduction in demand and ‘off peak‘ is the cheapest as it is being supplied at the times when demand for electricity is at its lowest. Often only two rates are available - peak and off peak - and you must be on a tariff that offers more than one rate, as well as have the right kind of meter.

What meter do you have?

Some meters record when you use your electricity rather than simply the total amount used and those are the ones that could save you money if off peak rates are available. below is a breakdown of the four types of meters available:

  • Time of Use - also known as Interval meters, these allow you to be able to take advantage of all three pricing periods - peak, shoulder, and off peak.
  • Two Rate - These meters record peak and off peak times.
  • Single Rate - These can only charge one price and are unable to offer any form of off peak electricity.
  • Dedicated Circuit - Select a specific appliance, such as a water heater, and the Dedicated Circuit meter can charge it using off peak prices.

Ways you can save with off-peak pricing

  • Rather than turning your dishwasher on immediately after finishing dinner, when it is likely to be a peak period, wait a little while and switch it on just before going to bed.
  • Wait to run your pool pump - mornings and weekends are the best times as it’s more likely to be a shoulder or off peak period. If you have a quiet pump or live rurally, you could even run it at night but be sure to check the noise restrictions in your area first.
  • Taking a shower at night, just before you go to bed, may save you money if you have an electric hot water system 
  • If you ever needed a reason to delay vacuuming your home, it’s this - wait until the shoulder or off peak periods and you could save money!
  • If your clothes dryer is relatively quiet, wait until night time, just before going to bed, to use it. If not, try to do your drying at the weekend (or use the clothesline!!).
  • With many modern appliances, you don’t have to wait around until the off peak period begins to take advantage of off peak prices. If your appliance has a timer delay function, simply set it to come on at the start of the off peak period and you can go out or to bed.

* Not all tariffs are available in all states and each is subject to different terms and conditions.

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