With the clocks moving back this weekend, so too have the times that you're charged cheaper electricity and this could affect your bills.
Although the bi-annual changing of the clocks appeared to be on the way out after the EU Parliament voted in 2019 to end the practice, the Covid crisis put a decision on implementing the change on the back burner. And there appears to be little appetite to revisit the issue for now.
Plus, the Irish Government was always unlikely to agree to the idea anyway unless the UK did too as it would mean different time zones on the island of Ireland.
So for the foreseeable future we're still be turning the clocks back an hour each October and forward every March. But in doing so it has an effect on your NightSaver times i.e. the hours when you're charged cheaper electricity. So to make sure you're not left out of pocket at a time when energy prices are close to record highs, here's what you need to know.
What are NightSaver meters?
A NightSaver meter records day-time and night-time electricity consumption separately, and allows customers to avail of cheaper electricity at night when demand and costs are usually lower.
If you're unsure if you have a NightSaver meter just check out a recent bill or talk to your energy supplier.
Your NightSaver meter will soon be replaced with a smart meter which can record your electricity consumption at any time of the day. However if you have a NightSaver meter you won't be upgraded to a smart meter until the end of 2024.
When is "night" time, exactly?
The definition of when "night" actually ends and a new day begins will be different for all the night owls and early birds out there!
Thankfully, for NightSaver meter users, the hours are clearly defined: "night-time" is 12am until 9am during summer time (late March to late October).
But when the clocks go back for winter, so too do your NightSaver times, meaning night-time is 11pm until 8am from late October to late March.
Will the change affect my energy bills?
Because of the time change, those with NightSaver meters need to remember that their electricity will go onto the dearer rate an hour earlier in the morning for the next five months - so you may need to adjust your consumption habits.
For example, if you like to put on a wash or the tumble dryer early in the morning before you go to work, you'll now only have until 8am to get the reduced rate.
On the other hand, you'll now have an extra hour in the evening to avail of the lower night-time rate.
You may also want to change your immersion timer settings and light settings.
Do I need to do anything?
When summer-time moves to winter-time you're automatically charged reduced night-time rates for the new hours of 11pm until 8am. So, you don’t need to worry about adjusting your meter - just make a note of the new times and adjust your electricity usage accordingly.
What about those with smart meters?
Smart meters are gradually being rolled out across the country and every home is expected to receive one by late 2024.
Those with smart meters can sign up to so-called 'time-of-use' smart tariffs which charge different prices for your electricity based on the time of time, with some plans even offering free weekend electricity.
However these plans are unaffected by the bi-annual time change - so if you're on a plan that offers a reduced electricity rate between 11pm and 8am for example, this won't change.
For more information, read our blog on smart meter tariffs to find out everything you need to know.
Switch and save
If you're worried about rising energy costs remember that the quickest and easiest way to save on your bills is to switch energy supplier.
Just use our energy price comparison service to compare prices and switch and you could save yourself hundreds of euro in just minutes!
For more information before you make the switch, consider taking a look at some of our helpful energy articles:
- Getting familiar with these 10 important terms will make the switching experience less confusing.
- We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked switching questions that will help make it as easy as possible for you to switch.
- Here’s a list of 7 important things to keep in mind when looking into switching. While price is the main consideration, there are other key factors to be mindful of.
Let's hear from you
Do you have any questions about NightSaver meters? If so, feel free to comment below!