Electricity There are three options for electricity tariffs: Base, Heures Creuses and Tempo.

Base is a set price per kWh depending on the power supply, which can be from 3 – 36 kVA. Most properties which opt for this option choose either 6 or 9 kVA. The higher powers are usually for someone running business machinery.

Heures Creuses is similar to Economy 7. The power supply is from 6-36 kVA and there are 2 tariff periods each day; 16 hours full tariff, 8 hours creuse (economy rate). For example, we have our cheap period from 1230-1430 during the day and then the cheap rate overnight, which is usually when the hot water cylinder runs. I tend to run such things as washing machine, tumble dryer, bread maker, during the lunchtime low rate. I run the pyrolise on my electric oven (self cleaning system) starting at 10pm on the cheap rate; it runs for one and a half hours at 500 degrees.

Tempo is the third option, which is also very economic if used properly. We chose this option in our previous house. The year is broken up into blue, white and red days. Power supply is between 9-36 kVA.

Blue days are the cheapest; there are 300 blue days in a year.

White days are the next highest tariff; there are 43 white days in a year.

Red days are the highest tariff, there are 22 red days in a year, and occur between 1st November and 31st March, but not on Saturdays, Sundays or fete days.

Each day is then broken up into 2 tariffs, so there are 6 different prices for a kWh.

To use tempo, you need a small box supplied by the energy company which is plugged into a power socket. At 8pm each day, a colour will light up on the box, advising the colour code for the following day starting at midnight. The choice of day colour is made by the meteo and the electricity supply company.

If the colour code is red, then you know the following day is going to be a very cold day – the idea being that people will run their electric heaters (especially) to keep themselves warm! It has been known for there to be 4 or 5 consecutive red days in extremely cold weather. Some people deal with this by going out shopping, or for a meal, or to see friends – so they keep warm on someone else’s electric bill!

By Beryl Brennan

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