Peak and Off Peak Hours: Is Electricity Cheaper at Night?
The dual rate meter is one of the 3 types of electric meters in Belgium. It offers two distinct pricing modes: peak hours, otherwise known as daytime rates, and off-peak hours, also called nighttime rates. In this energy guide, we explain their differences and share with you the off-peak and peak times.
What Times are Peak and Off Peak Electricity Hours?
Off-peak hours take effect during the night as well as on Saturdays and Sundays. The hours of the night rate are more or less the same in all the municipalities of Belgium, with a few exceptions.
|Peak Hours||Off Peak Hours|
|Monday to Friday: 7am to 10 pm||During the week: 10 pm to 7 am
Weekend: Friday 10 pm to Monday 7 am
ORES, the network operator, communicates its timetables publicly. In general, ORES off peak hours are between 10 pm and 7 am, except for certain municipalities where the time slot is between 9 pm and 6 am.
|1315||Glimes, Opprebais, Piétrebais, Roux-Manoir|
|1360||Malèves-Sainte-Marie-Wastines,Thorembais-Saint-Trond, Thorembais-les-Béguines, Orbais|
|7780, 7781, 7782, 7783, 7784||Comines-Warneton|
|7910 and 7912||Frasnes|
In Flanders, Fluvius, the network operator, also has some exceptions. Some towns have their off peak hours between 9 pm and 6 am. To find out the municipalities concerned, the DSO has published a list on its site.
The other network operators do not publicly communicate off peak hours. If you wish to know the exact timetable for your municipality, we advise you to contact them. You can consult the table below for their phone numbers.
|Distribution Supply Network Operator||Telephone Number||Region|
|Resa||04 220 12 11|
|AIEG||085 27 49 00|
|AIESH||060 45 91 60|
|REW||010 22 26 53|
Dual rate meters and public holidaysThe night rate does not apply on public holidays taking place during the week.
Although the peak and off peak hours are set by the network managers, many energy suppliers are implementing promotions allowing you to benefit from the night rate during the day. This is particularly the case for the suppliers Eneco and Essent.
So, What is a Dual Rate Meter?
The dual rate meter (compteur bi horaire) is one of the three electric meter types available in Belgium. The main difference with the single rate meter (compteur simple) is that it has two pricing modes depending on the schedule of the day and week:
- Peak hours (heures pleines), otherwise known as “day rate” (tarif de jour), which charges your supplier's kWh at full price. This price can be higher than the standard single rate price.
- Off-peak hours (heures creuses), otherwise called “night tariff” (tarif de nuit), which are cheaper than the day tariff. The night rate is also applicable during the weekend.
The dual rate meter therefore has two consumption indexes which need to be submitted when taking a meter reading.
Higher consumption households such as large families will benefit more from the dual rate meter. Indeed, by using all energy intensive household appliances during the night (dishwasher, dryer, electric heater, etc.), their electricity bills will be significantly lower.
The price per kWh in peak hours is generally higher than the price of a kWh of a single tariff meter. However, if you have an exclusive night meter, the kWh price of the latter is often lower than the night rate of a dual hour meter.
What about the gas meter? Unlike electricity, there is only one model of gas meter with a single consumption index. The price per kWh will therefore always be the same, regardless of the time of day or week.
Finally, if you have a budget meter, you will still be eligible for peak and off peak rates.
When to Switch from a Single Rate Meter to a Dual Rate Meter
Switching from a single meter to a dual rate meter after all these explanations can be tempting.
However, one must be aware of all the steps and the changes that this implies.
As a first step, you must be sure that the dual rate meter is suited to your household and your consumption schedule. Do not hesitate to take the test for a week before deciding, by following these steps:
- Take a meter reading at the start and end of the off-peak time slots
- Calculate your consumption during off peak time slots by subtracting the end of slot reading of that day from the start of slot reading
- Total up all your off peak hour consumption
- Calculate your total consumption during that week by subtracting your very last reading from your very first reading
- Divide your total off peak consumption by your total consumption
If the result is greater than 0.35 (35%) then you might want to consider getting a dual tariff meter. If you need help with your calculations, take the meter readings and give us a call on: 02 588 02 45.
What is the Cost of a Dual Tariff Meter?
If the request to change the meter is your own, the costs will be at your expense. In fact, to switch from a single to dual tariff pricing mode, you will have to change meters which might involve work.
Network managers do not publicly provide exact prices, but the change costs on average between € 150 and € 250. If you want to know the exapt price, you must contact your DSO and request a quote.
It is also important to mention that switching from a single meter to a dual rate meter may involve certain changes in your habits to make the best use of the off peak hours. For example, running your dishwasher or laundry machine overnight, or on weekends, to get the lowest price.