What is the Cheapest Time to Use Electricity in Ireland?

Electricity in Ireland is NOT automatically cheaper for everyone at night or at off-peak times.

  • If you have a night meter installed and are signed up to a “Night Saver” tariff with your electricity supplier – your electricity rate per Kwh will be cheaper at night. (But more expensive than standard rates during the day.)
  • If you have a Smart Meter installed it is possible to sign up for a “Smart Tariff-” You will not be automatically put on a “smart tariff” – you have to opt-in.
    • On a Smart Tariff – the rates for night time electricity and off-peak times will be lower than the rates during the day. But the daytime unit rates will be more expensive than the standard tariff rates.
    • On Smart Tariffs – the Peak rates between 5pm and 7pm will be even more expensive than the daytime rates.
    • You will only save money on a smart tariff if you switch some of your daytime electricity usage to the hours between 11pm to 8am.

Night Saver Electricity Rates

If you are on a Nightsaver tariff it will be cheaper for you to use Electricity at night. You will be charged a lower unit rate for electricity during the night.. (almost half the standard rate). However, the lower night rates are offset by a higher day unit cost and a bigger standing charge.

The times of the cheaper night-time electricity rates run from: –

  • 11 pm-8 am in Winter months. (End of October to end of March)
  • from midnight to 9 am in the other months. (April to end of October)

How Much Cheaper is Electricity With a Night Saver Meter?

Comparison of Normal Tariff with NightSaver

Prices from Electric Ireland (Rates From May 2023)

Prices inc VATNormal TariffNightSaver Tariff
Day Rate43.27c46.23c
Night Rate43.27c22.8c
Standing Charge €303€397

You will only get cheaper electricity bills with a Night Saver Meter if you use a significant amount of electricity at night. Homes with electric storage heaters, electric car chargers and heat pumps will usually use more electricity at night.

As you can see from the figures below, in order to make any saving, more than 30% of your electricity usage would need to be during the night. This would equate to around 3kwh (units) a night for the average household usage of 11 units per day (or 4,200kWh annually).

For example, an Electric Vehicle charger could typically use 6Kwh overnight . (Based on mileage of 18000km per annum, 15kWh/ 100kms and 80% home charging at night).

A Heat pump set to heat the hot water overnight might use about 4kWh a night . (based on 10kWh of hot water at a Coefficient of performance of 2.5)

An immersion heater (3,000 watts) turned on for 1 hour at night instead of 1 hour during the day it would typically use 3kwh (3 units). Doing that alone would be enough in the average household to make night saver electricity worthwhile. (Assuming the immersion is your only way of heating the water. Don’t use the immersion instead of a gas or oil boiler.)

Of course -putting the immersion on at night would only be money-saving if you didn’t also have to put the immersion on more often in the day because the water goes cold.
Also ,using an immersion on night saver rates will nearly always be more expensive than using an oil or gas boiler to heat your water.

How Much Could You Save on NightSaver Meter?

Of Night-Time
Normal Tariff€2023 €2023 €2023 €2023
Nightsaver Tariff€1946 €1848 €1750 €1651
Annual Saving77 €175274 372
4200 kwh annual usage. Figures from May 2023

Figures are based on average usage of 4200 kwh on Electric Ireland charges. Cheaper Electricity prices may be available from other suppliers

Getting a Night Saver Meter is free. Just call your electricity supplier to request one and they’ll arrange for ESB Networks to call out to your house and install one.

Standard Smart Tariffs

Smart Meters are gradually being installed in all houses in Ireland. Once you have a smart meter you can opt for a “smart tariff” . On most smart tariffs – the only time you get cheaper electricity than the standard tariff is at night.

Example of Electric Ireland’s Standard Smart Tariff:
(Figures from May 2023 inc VAT)

Night Rate 23.39c (11pm to 8am)
Day Rate 44.50c (8am to 5pm) and (7pm to 11pm)
Peak Rate 47.47c (5pm to 7pm)

(Compared to the Standard 24 hour tariff of 43.27c )

Plus €303 Standing Charge

An example of smart tariff actual charges:

Using a 500kw washing machine for 6 hours would use 3kwh.

On normal standard rates – this would cost €1.30 (day or night).

On a smart tariff it would cost:

€1.43 at peak time (5 to 7pm)
€1.33 off-peak daytime (8am to 5pm OR 7pm to 11pm)
€0.70 night time (11pm to 8am)

If you used a washing machine 6 hours a week and signed up for this smart tariff – then swapping all your daytime washing machine usage to night time would save you 60c a week – that would cut your annual bill by €31.20. But the logistics of washing clothes while you are asleep might not fit in with your lifestyle !

Obviously – using other items at night such as immersion or a car charger would be easier to do and would save you even more money.

However – your peak rates on the smart tariff would be 4.2c a unit more than the “standard rates”
So – for every Kwh you use during the 2 hours of peak time you will end up paying 8.4c a day more (about €30 over the year) compared to the standard charge rates.
You will need to cut your peak time usage (5 to 7pm) and swap it to night time to make the best savings.

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