An Expert Guide to Peak and Off-Peak Energy Rates and Times
If you stop to think what time of the day you use the most energy, it’s likely to be at 7:30am when your entire household have hot showers and boil the kettle to poach their eggs and make their tea. Otherwise, it could be after dinner when you’ve put the dishwasher on and settled in to watch TV for a few hours. You may have heard the phrase ‘on and off peak energy rates’ but how well do you actually understand your energy bill? We’ve put together a helpful guide to clear up some of your confusion.
Am I paying different amounts for energy throughout the day?
It’s likely that the times you use the most energy are no different to the other 20 million Australians connected to the energy grid, which means energy networks are under strain for the same hours every day. However, it may never have occurred to you to avoid using energy in the morning before work or after dinner, but perhaps that is because your energy bill does not vary based on ‘on and off peak’ times.
Those who have what’s called a ‘single rate tariff’ will pay the same amount for their energy for all hours of the day. The alternative is to be on a ‘time of use’ or ‘flexible pricing’ tariff. The name says it all, which means on this kind of energy plan, your rate varies throughout the day depending on the amount of strain the energy grid is under.
The majority of Australians have a ‘single rate’ tariff energy deal, so if you are unsure, it’s most likely you are in fact not paying more to use the dishwasher after dinner. Unless you have signed up to a ‘time of use’ tariff and have had a smart meter installed at your property to enable your energy provider to determine exactly when energy is being consumed, you do not need to be showering at unusual times in an attempt to save money.
Should I be on a ‘time of use’ tariff?
If you have room in your day for flexibility and to make changes to your habits, then signing up to a ‘time of use’ tariff could lead to dramatic savings on your energy bill. To give you an idea, the difference between typical peak and off-peak pricings can be around 40c/kWh. In other words, using energy during off-peak times could mean paying less than a third of the price you would otherwise to power your home and appliances.
The necessary money-saving habits you need to change could be as simple as delaying when you press start on the dishwasher or washing machine. With the possibility of significant savings, it might just be worth paying attention to the time when using high-energy consuming appliances.
If you’re still unsure whether adjusting your day around peak energy times is worth the savings you could be making, we have a detailed comparison page for ‘single rate’ and ‘time of use’ energy plans to help you get off the fence and figure out what’s best for you.