Richard Oliff: Boiler talk has me glazing over again

I had to check the date as the electrician began to talk about something about which I knew nothing.

It wasn’t April 1, though the look on my face must have been a picture of rampant blankness as he spouted forth about ‘Economy 10’.

What? Economy 10?

I’d never heard of such a beast. It was one of those moments when one is reluctant to show any sign of ignorance yet at the same time desperate to know about this thing that goes three beyond economy seven.

“Ooh,” he said, ‘You don’t often come across this.”

“Is that a good thing?” I asked. “Oh yes,” he continued, “It means you get an extra three hours of reduced price electricity on top of the standard economy seven tariff.”

Then the other electrician turned up to have a look. They reminded me of a couple of stamp collectors drooling over the rarest of the rarest in the world’s biggest stamp museum containing only the best of the rarest specimens.

Only years of experience gave them the knowledge to recognise what was staring at them from my supply and fuse box. “It’s quite rare then,” I said.

They both confirmed, this was indeed a rare thing.

I’ve since discovered that E-ten meters are not as widely supported by power suppliers as standard and E-seven meters, and may well explain why British Gas would not allow me to transfer my old account from one property to the other.

The now defunct tariff was known as Heatwise, a rate beneficial to those homes heated primarily by the use of storage heaters.

To benefit, one must have the appropriate meter which differs from standard and E-seven meters as they have extra capability, which allows them to measure the consumption of power between the set E-ten hours specified by the supplier. I must stop now before I begin to glaze over. Again.