Most British consumers satisfied with time of use tariffs


London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — November 12, 2012 – Almost three quarters of British consumers on time-of-use tariff are satisfied, a new survey from the British consumer group Consumer Focus has found.

However, satisfaction levels are strongly influenced by heating type, with almost all of those with gas central heating satisfied compared with about two-thirds of those with storage heating. Just 24 percent of the TOU users, who also tend to have lower household incomes, use storage heating as their main heat source, while 66 percent have gas central heating.

The survey involved 620 customers that were identified out of a sample of almost 6,000 people. The most popular TOU tariff is the so-called Economy 7, under which consumers are charged a lower price for seven consecutive hours overnight.

Approximately 19.5 percent of British electricity customers have a meter capable of supporting TOU tariffs, but of those surveyed only 13 percent claimed to be on a TOU tariff.

The survey also indicated that just half of the TOU tariff users deliberately run appliances, other than water and space heating systems, at off-peak periods to save money.

Further, more than a third of consumers on TOU tariffs do not receive any benefits from their tariff as they have gas central heating and do not use other electrical equipment during off-peak times.

All ToU users could benefit from better, often quite basic, information such as when the cheaper hours are and how to use their tariff more effectively to gain maximum savings, as well as help with understanding their heating systems, the survey report states. Despite being on a tariff which incentivizes using electricity at certain times, most TOU consumers appeared no more aware than average consumers of how and when they use electricity in their home.

TOU tariffs seem to work well for some groups of consumers, the report concludes. These tend to be people who have a high degree of control over their living situation, can be flexible about when they use the most electricity, and have the knowledge and ability to invest time and money into heating systems, appliances and energy efficiency measures.