Everything you need to know about energy jargon!

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Don’t know your controlled load from your feed-in tariff or not sure of the difference between a kilowatt, megawatt or gigawatt? Mojo is here to help – with our energy glossary, we’ll explain all those confusing terms. 








YOUR ELECTRICITY METER

Meter: A system installed in a household or business to allow energy providers and customers to determine how much electricity has been used in that property.
Basic meter: A meter that requires manual reading of energy consumption, which is forwarded by the meter data provider to the energy retailer. Usually read once per quarter.
Interval meter: A meter that records how much energy is used every half an hour, meaning customers can have different rates for different times of day.



Smart meter: A meter that reads energy consumption at frequent intervals and then electronically transmits the data to the retailer and allows for detailed representation of that data.
NMI: National Meter Identifier – A 11 digit identifier allocated to an electricity supply point, which may have one or more meters connected.
FRMP: Financially Responsible Market Participant – after someone consents to transfer to an energy retailer, that retailer is financially responsible for providing energy to that home.

READING THE METER

Actual readings: When an electricity meter is physically read and the actual usage is billed. The meter can be read manually or electronically.
Estimated readings: When an electricity meter is not physically read and amount billed is generated using an estimate based on a customer’s past electricity usage.
Special read: A meter reading outside of the normal quarterly schedule when a customer moves from one retailer to another. Used to get a final read for billing purposes.

YOUR ENERGY TARIFF

Tariff: An energy pricing structure (set of rates) paid to energy retailers by customers. Common tariffs are single rate and time of use.
Single rate: An energy pricing structure where you pay a fixed amount per KWh at all times of day. In some network areas, the price steps down after you use a certain amount.
Time of Use: An energy pricing structure where you pay a variable amount per KWh depending on the time of day (peak, shoulder or off-peak).
Controlled load: Electricity supplied to specific appliances, such as an electric hot water system, underfloor heating or a swimming pool, which are often separately metered and billed.
Feed-in tariff: The amount per KWh solar customers are paid for exporting energy generated by their solar systems to the grid.

YOUR ENERGY RATES

Peak: Electricity consumed at a time of day when demand is higher and therefore on a time of use tariff, the price is more expensive.
Off-peak: Electricity consumed at a time of day when demand is lower and therefore on a time of use tariff, the price is cheaper.
Shoulder: A period of time between peak and off-peak when energy consumption is neither at it’s highest or lowest and therefore on a time of use tariff, the price is between peak and off-peak.
Market offer: The energy rates a retailer offers for sale to the general public.
Standing offer: An energy price set by the retailer, which is generally higher than an energy retailers market offer. These often do not include discounts or additional benefits.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Renewable energy: Sources of energy that are able to be renewed and are unlikely to run out. Renewable energy is also less harmful to the environment than fossil fuels. Includes hydroelectric, solar and wind.
Biomass: A renewable energy source derived from living or recently living plant and animal materials, which can be used as fuel.
Geothermal: A renewable energy source derived from the heat of the earth.
Hydroelectric: A renewable energy source derived from the movement of falling water.
Solar energy: A renewable source of energy derived from the rays of the sun.
Photovoltaic cell: A cell that produces an electric current from the solar energy given out by the sun.



Solar thermal: A renewable source of energy derived from the radiation of the sun.
Wind energy: A renewable source of energy derived from turbines that are turned by the wind.

TRADITIONAL ENERGY

Generator: A machine that produces electricity – they can be large scale power stations or small portable generators. Generation companies are also known as generators.
Fossil fuels: A fuel derived from the remains of living organisms. Fossil fuels include natural gas and coal.
Gas-fired generators: A power station which creates electricity by burning natural gas. Pressurised air is mixed with gas and heated. The heat is used to turn water to steam which spins a turbine, which in turn spins copper coils within a generator creating electricity.
Coal-fired generators: A power station which creates electricity by burning coal. The heat is used to turn water to steam which spins a turbine, which in turn spins copper coils within a generator creating electricity.

THE GRID

Grid / Network: The infrastructure which delivers electricity to your home from the generators over the transmission and distribution phases.
NEM: The National Electricity Market – the Australian whole electricity market that covers the electrically connected states and territories in Eastern and Southern Australia.
Distribution: The transportation of electricity from the bulk supply points to households and businesses.
Transmission: The transportation of electricity from generation point to the distributors bulk supply point.
Distributor: The company responsible for the ‘poles and wires’. Your distributor manages the transmission and distribution of the electricity from the generator to your home via the network. Distributors vary in each state of Australia.

SOME GENERAL INDUSTRY TERMS

Concessions: Electricity discounts to help low-income households cover the cost of their power.
Deregulation: The dismantling of energy price regulations, allowing competition within the marketplace. Allows for a greater choice for energy consumers. Most states within Australia have been deregulated.
Peak demand: Periods of time where there is the highest demand for electricity.
Usage: The amount of electricity consumed by an energy customer over a given period of time.

SOME IMPORTANT ELECTRICITY TERMS

Joule: The basic unit of energy.
Volt: The basic unit of electric potential. The higher the voltage, the greater the amount of energy that can be transferred through a circuit.
Watt: A single unit of electrical power. The rate at which an appliance uses electrical energy, with one watt equal to one joule per second.
Kilowatt: A measure of electricity equivalent to 1,000 watts of energy.
Kilowatt Hour: The standard measure for the billing of retail electricity. A unit of energy equivalent to one kilowatt of electricity used for one hour. For example, an appliance using 100 watts running for 10 hours uses 1 kWh.
Megawatt: A measure of electricity equivalent to 1 million watts of energy.
Megawatt hour: 1 million watts used for 1 hour.
Gigawatt: A measure of electricity equivalent to 1 billion watts of energy.
Gigawatt Hour: 1 billion watts used for 1 hour.
Alternating current: Electric current that changes direction at regular intervals, typically used in power supplies.
Direct current: Electric current that flows in one direction only, typically used by sources such as batteries.

AND FINALLY A FEW TECHNICAL THINGS…

Home battery: A system which allows for the storage of energy generated by renewable sources, such as solar or taken from the grid. The battery is generally charged times when renewable energy is available or grid energy is cheap and discharged when it is required or expensive.
Inverter: Converts the direct current generated by a solar PV system into alternating current, which can be used as an electricity supply.
Transformer: A device which adjusts electricity voltage up or down allowing for transportation on the network.
 

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