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Confused about your electric heating restricted meter and tariffs?

Gloved hand plugging in electric heater.

People with electric heating often find it challenging to keep their home warm and comfortable and manage their energy bills. With energy prices at an all-time high, now is the time to ensure you are using your existing tariff or heating system in the most effective way.

Many electric heating systems work with special electricity meters (called non-Economy 7 restricted meters or non-standard meters). These meters charge energy customers different rates for electricity at certain times of the day; usually a cheaper rate for consumption during the night and a higher rate during the day.

Where to start

It’s important to make sure your heating system matches your meter type, otherwise you could be spending more than you need to. There are a few different types of electric meters. Some are designed with a specific heating system in mind, some restricted metering systems consist of one meter, whilst others consist of two. Because of these variations, restricted meter tariffs can be complex.

If you’re unsure about what system and meters you have in your home, speak with your energy supplier to understand what meter you have and how you are billed for the electricity you use. Your energy supplier can help you make the best use of your current tariff or possibly find a better tariff.

Know your rights

You are entitled to switch to a single rate tariff without a meter change or additional charges, and your supplier must provide you with information about your tariff and consumption.

Under rules introduced in 2017 by Ofgem, the government regulator for gas and electricity markets in Great Britain, many consumers with electric heating may have more suppliers and tariffs to choose from than before. Ofgem’s rules mean if you have the right kind of electricity meter, certain suppliers must offer you all their single rate tariffs without requiring you to change your meter.

Saving energy

If you’re struggling with the cost of your electric heating, there are lots of other ways to take charge of your energy bills. For example, you may be able to change to a different type of electricity meter. Seek advice before doing this as there may be costs involved and it might affect how your heating system works. You might save money by upgrading or changing your heating system, or by improving the energy efficiency of your home.

There may be financial support to help you with this – you could spread the cost with an interest-free loan, or get a grant to cover much-needed home improvements. In addition to speaking to your energy supplier about your meter and tariff options, making simple changes around the house can help you save energy and money too.

Get in touch

We know that understanding your meters and tariffs can be tricky, so get in touch if you’re not sure what to do next. You can chat with one of our friendly advisors by calling 0808 808 2282 between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday, and Saturdays 9am to 5pm, or, to get in touch by email use our contact form.

You can also get free, confidential and impartial advice about your energy supply from Citizens Advice Scotland.

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