Economy 7 setup

I've just bought a flat in a converted (1985 ish) Victorian villa.
There is an Economy 7 storage heater which is the only proper source of heating at the moment. This comes on whenever it is switched on - and appears to stay on.
Downstairs there is a meter with 'low' and 'standard' counters and an adjacent black box. I'm not sure what this box is but the other flats don't have one!
In the kitchen, wired to the consumer unit, is what looks like a mechanical timer with a dial with adjustable on/off/on/off tabs - this dial has been removed and left in the cupboard!
On the wall is a Horstmann Electronic 7 timer which I believe controls the hot water immersion heater. This appears to come on at odd times - definitely not Economy 7 times! (When I find the instruction book I can sort this out)
Does this sound like a standard Economy 7 setup - or has it been bodged/tampered with?
Does the Economy 7 rate apply only to the heating circuits or all supply to the property?
Should the mechanical timer be turning on the storage heater during the night?
Any other answers/advice/suggsestions would be appreciated.
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'Economy Seven' has had, AFAIK, at least a couple of versions - Mine (in place for over 23 years) gives me cheaper(?) electricity for everything from approx midnight to 7am, great for running the washing machine and dishwasher overnight. More recently, in another property, the service (about 1987) was installed on a separate distribution and only supplied off peak to storage heaters and the immersion heater. Your meter will have either two dials (R1 and R2) or if digital two readings plus a total, there will also be a time switch that should be sealed and is the property of the supplier.
I'd be a bit worried that your heater works at anytime - although there are storage heaters that also have a built in convector heater which runs from the 'normal supply' for warming the room when the storage heater has exhausted itself.
Peter
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As far as your billing goes, your Economy 7 meter simply switches from the normal to the low rate counters for a block of 7 continuous hours between about midnight and 08:00 GMT (determined by your local leccy company). If you have a look at the meter you should be able to determine your actual 7 hour block. As to how you use it, thats up to you. Obviously the immersion should be timed to only power up during your 7 hours (as should the storage heater). Obviously fridges/freezers and nocturnal telly watching all benefit from the use of the cheap electricity during the night (as would the use of heavy woodworking machinery!?)
Dave
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It does sound like its been tampered with - possibly connected to the 24 hour distribution board to bypass the timer.
Methods of providing load-switching varies between suppliers, and not every supplier will provide load switching devices - some may simply provide a low rated switch-wire to enable a contactor to be brought in to supply the off-peak heaters. The entire house will be on "low" rate during off-peak periods, not just the heaters.
I have a tariff called "option 14" which costs more per day standing charge, but I get 14 hours at a lower rate. Rather than have a contactor installed (and with having the intention of getting gas CH installed), we use standard portable oil filled electric radiators, and do the load switching ourselves using cheap plug-in timers.
This had the meter fixer foxed - he was under the impression you *had* to have a contactor installed - in the end, I made a quick call to one of our shift lads (for the same electric co.) who put him straight ;-)
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