Industry A-Z

Energy Glossary

Actual Bill

This means your bill is based on your actual meter reading, as opposed to an estimated gas and electricity reading. This is often shown on your energy bill by a capital ‘A’ for actual or ‘E’ for estimated. It is recommended that homeowners provide an actual reading to their gas and electricity supplier every quarter.

Alternative Fuel

Any fuel that does not come from sources such as oil or coal. This includes liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or biofuels.


A unit of electrical current. Also known as an amp.

Big Six

The ‘Big Six’ are Britain’s largest energy companies; British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON UK, npower, Scottish Power, and SSE.

Billing Period

The length of time that you’re being charged by your supplier for using gas and electricity.


This fuel is made from living things and waste. These fuel sources help reduce greenhouse gases.

BRFC Efficiency Scale

The UK’s system for rating the energy efficiency of windows. This guide uses an A-G rating system which can be used to help businesses make more informed decisions between different kinds of windows. Having double glazing for example, can be a great way to reduce heating costs.

Calorific Value (CV)

This is a term that is used to describe how much heat is generated when an amount of gas is burned away. The calorific value of your gas is shown on your energy bill.

Carbon Footprint

This is the amount of carbon emissions (CO2) that a business produces into the environment. Measured in tonnes, once you know the carbon footprint of your business you can find ways of reducing it, which will reduce your business energy expenditure.

Consumer Focus

An organisation that works to make businesses more consumer driven. One of its main roles is to make sure consumers get a fair deal from energy companies.

Carbon Offset

Carbon offsetting is a way in which you can balance out your carbon emissions by sponsoring projects or schemes designed to reduce carbon emissions.

Carbon Trust

An organisation dedicated to helping businesses, the public sector and governments to deliver a low-carbon economy. It provides ways for businesses to reduce carbon emissions, by developing low-carbon technologies and solutions.

Dual Fuel

Dual fuel means that your gas and electricity are both supplied by the same provider. Dual Fuel plans usually work out cheaper than having two separate energy plans for gas and electric.

Economy 7

This is an electricity tariff that means you pay a different price for your electricity at different times of the day. Electricity is cheaper during off-peak hours, which are 7 hours during the night.

Energy Consumption

This is the amount of energy you use. Generally in kWh (Kilowatt hours).

Energy Efficiency

This refers to using less energy, for example by using energy saving light bulbs you are being more ‘energy efficient’. The efficiency of whitelabel appliances is measured according to the European Union efficiency label which rates appliances from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).

Fixed Price Plan

This means the price you pay per unit of energy will not change over the course of your contract period. These plans can be beneficial when the price of energy is rising, however if the price drops your bill will stay the same. Penalty charges usually apply if you want to leave the plan early.

Gas Safe Register

The national watchdog for gas safety in the UK. All gas installers and maintenance engineers should be registered with the scheme.

Green Tariff

A Green Tariff (Sometimes known as an Environmental Tariff) is one where the supplier is delivering environmental benefits over and above regulatory obligations. This is generally through a proportion of your business energy being generated through renewables such as wind or hydroelectric, nuclear energy, or by carbon offsetting. Some Green Tariffs will be more environmentally friendly than others so always do some research if you want to be really environmentally friendly.

Internet Tariff

A tariff only available online, generally your whole account is manageable online.

Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN)

An MPAN, sometimes known as a ‘Supply Number’ (S Number), is a number unique to a property used by energy companies to decide on your energy rates. It can be found on your electricity bill, is 21 digits long and is needed to switch energy supplier.

Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN)

The gas equivalent of an MPAN, which can be found on your gas bill. It is unique to your property and does not change, even if you switch your gas provider.


The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. Ofgem regulates the companies who provide gas and electricity in the UK. Its responsibilities include setting price controls and protecting consumers’ interests in the provision of gas and electricity.

Price Freeze Tariffs

Sometimes called ‘Capped tariffs’ These tariffs come with a guarantee, generally a year or more, that the price won’t rise for the duration specified.

Smart Meters

Smart meters allow you to pay only for the gas and electricity that you actually use. It eliminates the need for estimated readings as your meter reading is automatically sent to your energy supplier. The government has started the Smart Meter Initiative (SMI), with the target that all businesses should have a Smart Meter by 2020.

Solar Power

This is the conversion of sunlight into electricity through the use of solar panels. If these are installed on your business it can help reduce your energy costs, especially in summer.

Standing Charge

Generally, energy bills are split into two components: A standing charge which is a flat rate, and then another cost per unit of consumption. If you have a ‘No Standing Charge’ tariff (NSC), that means that you don’t have a flat cost charged to you from the supplier, you only pay for the energy that you actually use, but the supply cost is usually factored into the cost of each unit, so it is slightly more expensive.

Wind Power

This is the conversion of the energy from the wind into electrical energy. This is done through wind farms, which are groups of wind turbines in consistently windy areas, sometimes off-shore.