Consumer champion's advice on new energy tariffs

NEW variable consumer tariffs are about to be launched, says The News consumer expert Richard Thomson, making it cheaper to run electricity-guzzling appliances when people are in bed.

First out of the starting blocks is Hertfordshire-based Green Energy UK. Its tide dual fuel tariff offers three different prices for electricity depending on the time of day.

The ‘time of use’ tariffs will appeal to consumers who charge devices and mobility scooters overnight, shift workers and insomniacs. Switching is claimed to be a doddle, but subscribers will need a smart meter installed.

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Green Energy says its new tariff is the smart way for consumers to bring down their energy bills without switching from one supplier to another. They claim that by operating top energy-consuming appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and dryers overnight, they can save £60 or more a year.

But Richard Thomson says the new tariffs are only likely to benefit medium to heavy users of energy who use far more electricity than gas and can switch their usage overnight.

They’re unlikely to beat the current cheapest deals unless people spend all night washing and ironing clothes.

Another serious downside is the risk of fire and flooding. Leaving washing machines, dishwashers and dryers operating unattended can result in flooding and fires in the home going unnoticed far longer and spread more rapidly.

Fire brigades have associated faulty Whirlpool dryers with almost 800 domestic fires.