NightSaver Meter: Is it Cheaper Electricity at Night?
For those of us who either have electric storage heaters, unusual work hours, or like to plan when using appliances, a NightSaver meter can potentially bring significant savings on your energy bills. Read on to find out how they work so you can take advantage of NightSaver meter tariffs and save money.
What is a NightSaver meter?
A NightSaver meter is a type of meter that helps you track your electricity consumption during nighttime versus daytime. Having one installed in your home allows you to obtain a NightSaver meter tariff from any of the energy providers in Ireland.
A NightSaver tariff is a cheaper price of electricity for the nighttime usage. While the daytime unit rate on this tariff is slightly more expensive than a regular daytime rate.
This makes NightSaver meters ideal for:
- Customers who heat their home with electrical storage heaters.
- Customers who run their household appliances (dishwashers, washers, dryers, etc.) at night.
- Customers who work night shifts and sleep during the daytime.
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What are the NightSaver meters times in Ireland?
We all have our definition of when 'nighttime' begins! Luckily for customers with a NightSaver meter, the cheaper electricity times are clearly set to:
- From 11 pm to 8 am in winter (late October until late March)
- From 12 am to 9 am in summer (late March until late October)
The shift between summer and winter occurs the same day as the change of our clocks due to daylight savings time. Meaning that for your meter, it is the same hours that are cheaper year-round but, this way, your meter doesn’t have to be reset every time we change our clocks.
No matter the time of year, you have a total of nine hours to benefit from a cheaper electricity rate.
How can I get a NightSaver meter?
To install a NightSaver meter, simply contact your supplier and request one. Your supplier will then register your request for a NightSaver meter with ESB Networks, who will arrange to call by your house and install one for free. The only caveat is that you will pay a higher standing charge than a standard 24-hour meter.
ESB will need to install two different meters, so you can take advantage of cheaper electricity rates at night-time. The NightSaver meter will then be able to record your daytime and nighttime electricity consumption separately, allowing you to save on your electricity bills.
How do you read a NightSaver meter?
How to read a NightSaver meter will first depend on whether you have a revolving disc meter or a digital meter. We look at both options below.
- Revolving disc meter: - These will come with a clear daytime meter reading above the nighttime reading. You can ignore the last digit in red. Sometimes, the meters will read the roman numbers I and II instead of day and night. The number I above would refer to daytime usage and number II for nighttime.
- Digital meter: - To take a meter reading for a digital meter, you will have to press the blue button until the screen says 'day' and then repeat until the display shows 'night'. The numbers that follow each one is your meter reading. Like the revolving disc meter, you can ignore the last red digit.
You can always read more on the topic in our complete guide to meter readings.
Is electricity cheaper at night in Ireland?
If you have a NightSaver meter or a smart meter then, yes, you can obtain cheaper electricity at night.
You will need to ensure you can do the following to get an overall cheaper electricity bill with a NightSaver meter:
- Shift more than a quarter (about 27%) of your electricity usage to nighttime. Less than this amount and a NightSaver tariff will end up more expensive rather than less.
- Unsure what 27% is? Just answer the questions; can you run your dishwasher, washer-dryer, and any other energy guzzlers at night? Can you have a shower before NightSaver time ends in the morning? If the answer is yes, a NightSaver meter could be for you.
The reason you’ll need to shift at least 27% is that although NightSaver meters are “free” to install, there is an additional fee added to your standing charge (around €45-€50). As such, you won’t see any benefit from cheaper night rate electricity unless you push for more than 27% of electricity consumption at night.
Energy companies have a surplus of electricity at night, so it’s in their best interest to make it easier and cheaper for customers to use it. Have a look at our smart meter guide for its benefits in night time usage.
Although it’s free to make the move to a NightSaver meter, if you decide it’s not for you and decide to move back to a 24hr meter only, you will be charged a massive €200 fee.
What are the Electric Ireland night rates?
Rates and prices at night time vary quite a bit from one supplier to the next. This is why we strongly recommend you compare the market before selecting a supplier for your NightSaver rates.
We take a quick look at the NightSaver unit rates for some of the larger energy suppliers in Ireland, such as Electric Ireland and Energia. We can quickly see some possible savings when just 35% of our electricity usage is shifted to NightSaver hours.
|Provider||24hr Unit Price||Day Unit Price (Nightsaver)||Night Unit Price (Nightsaver)||Annual Cost (24hr)*||Annual Cost (Nightsaver)*||Savings (minus Nightsaver standing charge)|
|Electric Ireland||21.84c||23.44c||11.63c||€915.00||€936.00||€21.00 - €74.66 -------- (€53.66)|
|Energia||31.90c||34.97c||16.78c||€1,095||€1,008.34||€86.66 - €62.25 -------- €24.41|
|Ecopower||24.5c||26.6c||13.5c||€1,314.57||€1,173.07||€141.50 - €45.40 -------- €96.10|
|SSE Airtricity||26.55c||28.32c||14.02c||€1,116.06||€1,014.90||€101.84 - €66.26 -------- €35.58|
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*Prices include VAT, standing charges, levies, and provider discounts.
As we can see, a NightSaver meter could save you some cash depending on which provider you choose.
You will also need to be quite disciplined about shifting the consumption of energy-guzzling appliances towards the cheaper-priced nighttime hours. Appliance timers, smart plugs, and timer plugs could all help you do this, removing the hassle of yet another thing to remember.
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Are NightSaver meters recommended for storage heaters?
A storage heater (also known as a heat bank) is an electric heater containing ceramic bricks. These bricks are used to store up thermal energy at night when energy can be cheaper if you have a NightSaver tariff. The accumulated thermal energy is then slowly released during the day as heat.
This makes a NightSaver meter and storage heaters a marriage made in heaven! If you have storage heaters, you should consider contracting a NightSaver tariff, or, vice versa, consider installing a storage heater if you have a NightSaver meter, and here is why:
- Storage heaters are very high consumers of energy.
- Storage heaters are designed to work while you are sleeping at night time.
- NightSaver times very much match when the ideal times' storage heaters should operate.
In theory, a NightSaver meter will lower the overall cost of your energy bills if you heat your home with storage heaters. There are four different models of storage heaters available in Ireland:
|Manual Heaters||No inbuilt thermostat so they will continue to heat a room even if an optimal temperature has been reached.|
|Automatic Storage Heaters||Will turn off when the room temperature has reached a certain preset limit.|
|Automatic Combination Heaters||Can also work as electric convection heaters. Meaning that, if all the heat stored in the ceramic bricks has been used up and you feel like you need an extra boost of heat, you can switch to the electric convection function to generate more.|
|Quantum Convection Heaters||The most expensive heaters but, they are the cheapest to run. These heaters incorporate fans to circulate heat around rooms effectively.|
If you’d like more information on storage heaters or to see how they compare with other methods for heating your house, check out our article on the best way to heat your home.
Are NightSaver meters recommended for immersion heaters?
Of course, it’s not just storage heaters that can reap the benefit of overnight heat storage. It’s also the ideal time to switch on the immersion heater and wake up to a bountiful and cheaper supply of hot water.
Make sure to set the immersion timer for the amount of time needed before NightSaver time ends, rather than all night which would waste energy.
How to plan electricity savings with your NightSaver meter
We already know that a NightSaver meter and tariff can save you money, as long as you’re careful about planning your electricity consumption so that you use more than a quarter of it during the tariff hours. But how can you plan ahead more accurately?
The average Irish household uses up around 11.8 kWh (kilowatts per hour) of energy per day, so you’ll need to use at least 3 kWh of your daily usage during NightSaver hours. So, how does 3 kWh translate to your normal usage exactly?
|Tumble dryer||4 kWh per load|
|Immersion cylinder||4 kWh (40-minute heating cycle)|
|Washing machine||between 2.3 to 6.3 kWh per load|
|Electric blanket||1 kWh (average usage per night)|
|Power shower||2 kWh (10-minute shower)|
|Electric shower||1 kWh (10-minute shower)|
|Electric kettle||0.25 kWh (5 minutes)|
|Dishwasher A++||1 kWh per short (approx. 1 hour) cycle|
If you can be organised and dedicated to reorganising your electricity consumption habits, then a NightSaver meter could save you money. Obviously, the more electricity usage you can shift to those cheaper night rate hours, the better.
However, given the high cost of switching back to a 24hr meter, you would need to be really sure before requesting a NightSaver meter. While every little saving helps, there are also several options you should look at before considering this, which could save you considerably more cash, such as:
- Switch energy provider every 12 months - this could net you annual savings of several hundred euros.
- Upgrade your home heating system or add more insulation to your house.
- Encourage healthy energy usage habits in your household.
- Consider signing up for a Collective Switch scheme, which uses bargaining power to help cut your energy costs.
- Consider having a smart meter installed which could accomplish the same functions as a NightSaver meter.