Interested in getting a HeatWise meter but not 100% sure what the pros and cons are? Currently have a HeatWise meter and unsure your options? This guide will help
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HeatWise meters are a very specialised type of meter that require a specific energy plan, and only apply to a very small percentage of energy users. The HeatWise plan was recently renamed as the E.ON EnergyPlan.
Heatwise tariffs were offered by the big six energy supplier E.ON to customers in the East Midlands region. Like Economy 7 or Economy 10 energy plan, the Heatwise plan was designed to take advantage of cheaper electricity offered at certain times of the day.
Heatwise meters work in conjunction with a storage heater in electricity-only homes. They switch on late at night and early in the morning, when demand for electricity is low and it therefore costs less per kWh, and store heat and hot water in separate storage heater units.
Heatwise meters therefore require you to have a storage heater in your home, but the only physical difference you will see is an extra cable next to your normal meter.
Can I still get a Heatwise plan?
The Heatwise plan was renamed by E.ON on the 18 January 2013, and is now known as the E.ON EnergyPlan. E.ON says that the name change in no way has changed the nature of the plan, but the structure of the tiered-rate system has changed the way your usage is calculated.
How can I tell if I’m on Heatwise?
The easiest way to tell if you’re on Heatwise is, if you’re with E.ON and live in the East Midlands, check whether you have two different supply numbers on your bill.
You may also see the phrase ‘Heatwise’ or ‘E.ON EnergyPlan’ on your bill under plan name, or, if you are unsure, you can give E.ON a call.
How is Heatwise charged?
Heatwise meters are multi-rate systems and therefore have two supply numbers, one for the cheaper off-peak energy under the Heatwise connection and one for normal supply.
Heatwise customers will therefore have two standing charges – one for the Heatwise supply and one for the normal supply – and two sets of unit rates.
If E.ON puts its prices up your unit rates will be affected, but the standing charges should stay the same unless E.ON changes the plan.
Is Heatwise something I should consider?
Heatwise meters, like Economy 7 or 10 meters, can be a great choice but only for certain types of people and with certain caveats.
First of all, when do you use electricity? Although the Heatwise plan uses a storage heater, a good rule of thumb to determine whether such a plan is right for you is to ask yourself how much energy you use at night.
Heatwise, Economy 7 or Economy 10 meters are generally only suitable to people who use at least 40% of their energy at night.
Next you should ask yourself how you heat your water. If you already have a storage heater in place to store your hot water then Heatwise, Economy 7 or Economy 10 plans could be a cost-effective solution. If not you will have to pay for installation costs which are likely to offset any savings you would make.
You should also consider whether your appliances use a timer. If so then you can run your dishwasher, tumble dryer or washing machine at night to take advantage of the cheaper tariffs. If they don’t have timers, or running them at night is inconvenient, then you will miss out on some of the cheapest rates.
Finally ask yourself whether you like having hot water in the mornings, rather than the evenings. Your storage heater will heat up overnight, so first thing in the morning the water is likely to be warmer than in the evening.
Switching from Heatwise
Owing to the fact that your related Heatwise plan is so complicated, with two standing charges, two supply numbers, and two sets of meter rates, running a comparison of a Heatwise plan online is difficult.
If you want to switch from Heatwise you should contact a potential new supplier directly to get an accurate comparison.
If you want to switch away from Heatwise and on to a standard meter, you will need to contact your supplier and should be aware that you may need to pay a fee to have a new meter type installed.
How else can I save on electricity?
Instead of using a specific type of plan to save energy there are plenty of small changes you can make around the home to save you money.
The simplest thing to do is to make sure all your lightbulbs are energy-saving bulbs. While this may sound like a fairly basic step to take you'd be surprised how many inefficient incandescent bulbs you find around your home.
You should also think about your electricity consumption whenever it comes to replacing white goods in the kitchen. Fridge-freezers use huge amounts of energy, but newer models are far more energy-efficient.
The same is true for washing machines, dishwashers and dryers. Better yet, rather than using the dryer hang your clothes up to dry.
You can even save energy on a daily basis, like when you make a cup of tea. Instead of boiling the whole kettle boil just enough water for one cup of tea. Some energy-saving kettles even have a 'minimum' level so you can add just enough water for a cup of tea.