Business Energy Terms Explained
Understanding your energy bills can seem confusing at first, with lots of new jargon to get your head around. That’s why we’ve created this handy A-Z Energy Glossary to help you get to grips with everything from meter readings to renewable energy.
Account Balance: The financial status of a customer’s account, showing whether they owe money or have a credit balance.
Account Manager: A representative from an energy supplier or broker who manages the account and serves as the primary point of contact for a business customer.
Account Number: A unique identifier assigned to a customer’s account with an energy or utility provider.
Annual Broker Commission: The fee or commission paid to an energy broker by an energy supplier for helping to secure a business customer.
Annual Fuel Mix Disclosure: A report detailing the sources of electricity generation used by an energy supplier.
Baseload Power: The minimum amount of energy required to meet a business’s continuous and essential electricity needs, usually provided by stable sources like nuclear or hydroelectric power.
BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy): A UK government department responsible for energy policy and industrial strategy.
Billing Address: The address where bills and invoices are sent.
Blend and extend tariff: A type of business energy contract that increases the length of your current contract whilst immediately lowering the rates you pay.
Broker: An intermediary who facilitates transactions between buyers and sellers, often for a commission.
Brown Energy: Refers to energy generated from fossil fuel sources, such as coal, oil, and natural gas.
Brownout: A controlled reduction in voltage by the utility provider to prevent a complete blackout during times of high electricity demand or system instability.
Business Energy Quote: An estimate or proposal for the cost of energy services provided to a business customer.
Business Energy Supplier: A company that provides energy services to commercial and business customers.
Business Energy: The electricity and/or gas supply used by commercial enterprises to power their operations.
Business Terms and Conditions: Specific terms and conditions that apply to business customers when dealing with energy suppliers.
Business Water: Water services provided to commercial and business customers.
Calorific Value: The amount of energy produced by burning a specific volume of gas.
Carbon Emissions Trading: A market-based system where businesses can buy and sell carbon allowances, meaning those with lower emissions can sell their excess allowances to those exceeding their emission limits.
Carbon Footprint: The total amount of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily CO2, produced directly or indirectly by a business’s activities, indicating its environmental impact.
Carbon Neutral Gas Plan: An energy plan for natural gas that includes measures to offset or reduce the carbon emissions associated with gas consumption, often through carbon offset projects.
Carbon Neutral: A state in which a business’s overall carbon emissions are offset entirely by carbon reduction measures or by supporting carbon offset projects.
Carbon Tax: A government-imposed tax on carbon emissions, designed to incentivise businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Change of Tenancy: The process of transferring the responsibility for energy or utility bills from one tenant to another in a rented property.
Chargepoints: Devices used for recharging electric vehicles (EVs).
CHP (Combined Heat and Power): Also known as cogeneration, it is a system that simultaneously generates electricity and useful heat from a single fuel source, increasing energy efficiency.
Climate Change Levy (CCL): A tax on energy use in the UK aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
Contract End Date: The date when an energy contract expires, typically leading to a renegotiation or a switch to a new contract.
Contract Renewal: The process of extending or renegotiating an existing energy contract.
Contract Start Date: The date when an energy contract becomes effective and the agreed-upon terms and rates come into effect. The Supply Start Date may differ from the Contract Start Date.
Conversion Factor: A factor used to convert gas consumption from one unit of measurement to another by either multiplying or dividing.
Correction Factor: A factor applied to gas meter readings to account for variations in gas pressure and temperature.
Credit: A positive balance on a customer’s account, indicating they have paid more than their current charges.
Cubic Feet: A unit of measurement for gas volume, often used in different regions.
Cubic Meters: A unit of measurement for gas volume.
Day Rate: This type of rate applies if you have a day or Economy 7 meter. Day Rate refers to higher rates charged for using power during the day, which are offset by lower rates overnight.
Debit: A negative balance on a customer’s account, indicating they owe money for unpaid charges.
Debt: The amount of money owed to an energy or utility provider by a customer.
Deemed Terms and Conditions: Default terms and conditions that apply when a customer has not entered into a specific contract.
Demand Charges: Fees imposed by utility providers based on a business’s peak energy demand during specific time periods, encouraging efficient energy usage.
Demand-Side Management (DSM): Strategies and programs implemented to encourage businesses to modify their energy usage patterns and reduce peak demand.
Dial Meter: An older type of electricity meter with rotating dials to measure consumption.
Digital Electric Meter: An advanced electronic meter for measuring electricity consumption.
Direct Debit Mandate: An authorisation from a customer allowing automatic payments to be collected from their bank account for bill payments.
Direct Debit: A payment method where automatic withdrawals are taken from a bank account to pay bills.
Distributed Energy Resources (DERs): Small-scale, decentralised power generation and storage systems, such as solar panels, microturbines, and battery energy storage systems, located close to the point of energy consumption.
Distributed Generation: The generation of electricity by small-scale power sources, typically located near the point of consumption, reducing transmission losses and promoting energy efficiency.
Distribution Network Operators (DNOs): Licensed firms responsible for owning and managing the infrastructure – including cables, transformers, and towers – essential for delivering electricity from the national transmission network to households and businesses in the UK.
Domestic Customer: A residential customer who uses energy or utility services for personal use in their home.
DUoS Charges (Distribution Use of System Charges): Charges levied by the distribution network operator for using their infrastructure to deliver electricity.
Electricity Charge: The cost associated with electricity consumption on an energy bill.
Electricity Network Provider: The company responsible for maintaining and operating the electricity distribution network.
Energy Analytics: The analysis of energy consumption data to optimise energy usage and reduce costs.
Energy Audit: An assessment conducted to analyse a business’s energy usage and identify opportunities for energy efficiency improvements and cost savings.
Energy Bill: The monthly invoice that a business receives from their utility provider, detailing the amount of energy used and the associated costs.
Energy Bills Discount Scheme: A government scheme that provides financial assistance to business customers struggling with energy bill payments in the UK. This scheme is set to run until 31st March 2024.
Energy Broker: A third-party intermediary that helps businesses compare and negotiate energy supply contracts with different utility providers.
Energy Conservation: Actions taken by a business to reduce energy consumption and promote more sustainable energy usage practices.
Energy Consumption: The amount of energy used by a customer over a specific period. A business will be offered rates according to the estimated annual energy consumption.
Energy Efficiency: The measure of how effectively a business utilises energy to perform its tasks or operations, aiming to minimise waste and reduce energy consumption.
Energy Management System (EMS): A software-based system that monitors and controls a business’s energy usage to optimise efficiency and reduce costs.
Energy Star Certification: A label awarded to products and buildings that meet strict energy efficiency standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or other relevant authorities.
Energy Storage: Devices or systems used to store excess energy generated during low-demand periods for later use when demand is higher.
Energy Supplier: A company that provides energy, such as electricity or gas, to customers.
Estimated Billing: Billing based on estimated energy consumption when actual meter readings are not available.
EV Chargers: Charging stations specifically designed for electric vehicles.
EV Charging: The process of recharging electric vehicles using electricity.
Fixed Commission: A predetermined commission rate paid to an energy broker for their services, often specified in a contract.
Fixed-term contracts: Contracts between a customer and an energy provider that specify a fixed duration during which the terms and rates of service remain constant. The rates remain fixed regardless of the market situation.
Fuel type: The specific type of energy source used to generate electricity or gas, such as coal, natural gas, nuclear, renewables, etc.
Gas Charge: The cost associated with gas consumption on an energy bill.
Gas Meters (Imperial Meter): A different type of gas meter used to measure gas consumption, for an imperial meter you’ll see a four-digit reading after the decimal point and is measured in hundreds of cubic feet (hcf)
Gas Meters (Metric Meter): A type of gas meter used to measure gas consumption, with different measurement units, a metric meter will display a five or six digit reading and will be measured in m^3.
Gas Therm: The unit of measurement for natural gas consumption.
Green Energy Certificates: Similar to Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), these certificates represent the purchase or production of a certain amount of energy from renewable sources. They support renewable energy projects and demonstrate a business’s commitment to sustainability.
Green Energy: Energy generated from renewable sources, such as solar, wind, biomass, or hydro, with lower environmental impact compared to fossil fuels.
Half hourly: Refers to electricity meters that record consumption data in half-hourly intervals. These meters are often used by larger businesses for more accurate billing and monitoring.
Invoice Period: The time period covered by an energy or utility bill.
Invoice: A formal document sent to a customer detailing the charges for goods or services provided.
KVA (Kilovolt-ampere): A unit of electrical power used to measure the apparent power in an electrical circuit.
kWh (Kilowatt-hour): The unit of measurement for electricity consumption, equivalent to a power consumption of one thousand watts for one hour.
Large business: (in energy terms) A business using over 100,000 kWh of electricity or 293,000 kWh of gas every year. Or that has an approximate annual spend of over £30,000 on gas or electricity. Examples include sports stadiums, large factories and other manufacturing businesses.
Load Balancing: The process of optimising energy usage across different periods to evenly distribute energy demand and reduce peak consumption.
Load Factor: The ratio of a business’s average energy usage to its maximum energy demand over a given period, usually a month. It helps determine how efficiently a business uses its energy capacity.
Load Management: Strategies and practices employed by businesses to control and optimise their energy usage, particularly during peak demand periods.
Load Profile: A graphical representation of a business’s energy consumption patterns over a specific time, helping identify opportunities for energy-saving measures.
Load Shedding: A controlled reduction of a business’s energy usage during times of high demand to prevent overloading the electrical grid.
Meter Class: A classification of electricity or gas meters based on their features and capabilities.
Meter Point Number (MPN): An identifier for a specific metering point in a utility system.
Meter Reading: The process of recording and reporting the actual consumption on an energy or utility meter.
Metering Charge Rate: The rate charged for the installation, maintenance, and reading of energy meters.
Micro Business: A small-scale business with a limited number of employees and relatively low annual turnover, often eligible for certain regulatory benefits. Your business will be considered a micro-business if:
your business has a turnover of less than £ 1.7 million
has less than 10 employees and uses no more than 100,000 kWH of electricity per year or no more than 293,000 kWh of gas per year.
MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number): A unique reference number for an electricity supply point or meter, used for identification and billing purposes.
MPRN (Meter Point Reference Number): A unique reference number for a gas supply point or meter, used for identification and billing purposes.
Multi-fuel: A term used to describe energy plans or services that encompass multiple types of fuels, such as electricity and gas.
MWh (Megawatt-hour): A larger unit of measurement for electricity consumption, equal to one thousand kilowatt-hours.
National Gas Service: The national infrastructure responsible for the distribution of natural gas.
Net Metering: A billing arrangement that allows businesses with solar panels or other renewable energy systems to sell excess energy back to the grid, offsetting their energy costs.
Net Zero Energy Building: A building that produces as much renewable energy as it consumes over a specified period, typically achieved through energy-efficient design and renewable energy generation.
New Connections: The process of establishing new energy or utility connections, often required for new buildings or business premises.
Non-half hourly: A term used in electricity metering to refer to meters that do not provide half-hourly data readings. Non-half hourly meters are typically used by smaller businesses or residential customers.
Off-peak Tariff: A pricing structure for energy or services where lower rates are charged during times when demand is typically lower, such as overnight or during weekends.
Ofgem: The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, a UK government regulator for the electricity and gas markets.
Out-of-contract tariff: A pricing plan for energy or services that a customer is placed on when their existing contract expires or if they have not entered into a new contract. It often comes with higher rates than contracted tariffs.
Peak Demand: The maximum amount of energy used by a business during a specific time period, often measured in kilowatts (kW). High peak demands can result in additional charges.
Peak Shaving: The practice of reducing a business’s energy consumption during peak demand periods to avoid high peak demand charges.
Plan Name: The name or title given to a specific energy pricing plan or tariff offered by an energy supplier.
Power Factor Correction: Techniques used to improve a business’s power factor, increasing energy efficiency and reducing reactive power charges from utility providers.
Power Factor: A measure of how efficiently a business uses electricity. A low power factor may result in extra charges from the utility provider.
Power Purchase Agreements (PPA): Contracts between energy producers and consumers specifying terms for the purchase of electricity or other energy products.
Power Usage: The amount of electrical power used by a customer, often measured in kilowatts (kW) or megawatts (MW).
Pre-Payment Method: A payment method where customers pay in advance for energy or services, often using pre-paid meters.
Principal Terms & Conditions: The fundamental terms and conditions that govern an energy contract.
Product Bundle: A package or combination of energy services and features offered to customers as part of an energy plan.
Pure Green Electricity Plan: An energy plan that exclusively sources electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, or hydropower, with no reliance on fossil fuels.
Quantity: The amount of a commodity, such as gas or electricity, consumed during a billing period.
REGO (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin): Certificates that verify the renewable origin of electricity generated from renewable sources.
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs): Tradable certificates that represent proof of renewable energy generation. Businesses can purchase RECs to support green energy initiatives.
Renewable Energy Generation: The production of energy from renewable sources like wind, solar, or hydroelectric power.
Renewable Energy: Energy generated from sustainable sources such as solar, wind, hydro, or geothermal, which are considered environmentally friendly alternatives to fossil fuels.
Single Rate Meter: An electricity meter that charges a constant rate for energy consumption.
Small business: Often defined as a business which has less than 50 employees and an annual turnover under €10 million. In energy terms, a small business has an annual spend of up to £30,000 on gas or electricity.
Smart Meter: An advanced metering device that measures and records energy consumption in real time, providing businesses with more accurate data for energy management.
Smart Pre-Pay Meter: A prepaid energy meter with smart technology for monitoring usage and making payments.
Sole Trader: A business structure where an individual operates and owns the business.
Standard Rate: The base rate for energy consumption charged by an energy supplier, often applied when a customer is on an out-of-contract tariff.
Standing Charge: A fixed daily or monthly fee that covers the basic costs of supplying energy, regardless of usage. This will be stated on your energy contract.
Supply Address: The location where energy or utilities are consumed or supplied.
Switching: The process of changing energy suppliers or tariffs to obtain better rates or services.
Tariff: The rate or pricing structure that determines how much a business pays for electricity and/or gas usage, often based on consumption levels and time of use.
Time of Use (TOU) Rates: A pricing structure where energy costs vary based on the time of day or day of the week, encouraging businesses to shift energy-intensive activities to off-peak hours.
Topping Up: Adding credit to a prepaid meter to continue receiving energy services.
Trade Effluent: Liquid waste generated by businesses or industrial processes that may require special treatment or disposal.
Two-rate Meter: An electricity meter that charges different rates for energy consumption during peak and off-peak hours.
Utility Provider: The company responsible for delivering and supplying energy. Also known as an energy supplier or utility company.
Variable Commission: A commission paid to an energy broker that can fluctuate based on various factors, such as the size of the customer’s energy contract.
VAT (Value Added Tax): A consumption tax applied to the value of goods and services at each stage of production or distribution. It is typically paid by consumers.
VAT Certificate: A document certifying a business’s eligibility for Value Added Tax (VAT) exemptions or reductions.
VAT Water Declaration Form: A form used to declare the VAT status of water services for businesses.
Virtual Power Plant (VPP): An aggregation of multiple distributed energy resources, that are coordinated and controlled to function as a single power plant, contributing to grid stability and flexibility.
Wastewater & Sewage Treatment: The management and treatment of wastewater and sewage produced by businesses and households.
Water Consumption: The amount of water used by a customer over a specific period.
Water Meter: A device for measuring the volume of water consumed.
Wireless Automated Telemetry Technology: A wireless monitoring system that enables real-time data collection and analysis of energy usage.
Zero Carbon Emissions: A state where no carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are produced, often achieved through carbon offsetting or renewable energy use.
Hopefully you’re feeling a bit more clued up on all your energy terms now. If you need more help understanding your energy bills you can check out our free guide on our support page.
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