What is an MPAN, what does it stand for and do I even need to know what it is? You don’t have to know what every word of energy jargon means, but do you want to float through life being oblivious? Or, do you want to assert a new-found knowledge of energy into your life and live the rest of your days as an omniscient guru of the energy industry?
If you are still reading this I take it you chose the latter, so good on you! Read on and never again be stumped by any terms regarding energy.
Your unique account number which your supplier uses to identify your details.
This will appear on your bill if your meter has been read and recorded – as opposed to your supplier estimating your reading.
Some energy suppliers will charge cancellation fees, which you will be obliged to pay if you leave your tariff before the specified end-date.
This means that your prices under this tariff will be capped, i.e. they can go down but can’t go up.
When you switch your energy supplier you will start a compulsory two week ‘cooling off period’. During this time, you have the right to change your mind and cancel the switch if you have a change of heart.
This refers to an energy plan that provides you with both gas and electricity.
Economy 7 or 10 tariff
With these tariffs you’ll get cheaper “off-peak” energy for either seven or ten hours a day. Economy 7 tariffs usually gives you cheaper energy at night, while Economy 10 tariffs spread these cheaper hours throughout the day.
This is the amount of energy your household uses, measured in kilowatt hours (kWh).
This refers to whether your energy is used productively, rather than being wasted. For example, if you were making just one cup of tea and boiled a full kettle, this would not be very energy efficient, as you have used more energy than you needed to.
This is who supplies your property with electricity and/or gas.
Your energy supplier usually estimates your bills for your monthly energy consumption based on the size of your house and how many occupants there are. This is not the most accurate measure and can result in big variations between your estimated usage and your actual usage, determined when your meter is read.
Fixed rate tariffs
A fixed rate tariff means that you’ll pay the same price per unit of gas and electricity for the period of your contract. This can help protect you from energy price hikes.
This is the breakdown of the fuels which are used to generate the energy you receive.
This is a type of gas created from biodegradable material that can be used in the same way as traditional fossil fuel gas.
With this tariff some of the money you pay to your energy supplier will be reinvested in either the purchase or generation of energy from renewable sources, or used for environmental funds.
Ofgem (the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) has created different categories for users depending on the amount of people who live in your home and how many bedrooms it has. Energy suppliers then use these categories to calculate standard consumption values. As a high user you are considered to use 17,000 kWh of gas, and 4,600 kWh of electricity (on an unrestricted meter), in a year. On an Economy 7 or 10 meter, a high user for electricity is considered to use 7,100 kWh of electricity in a year.
Units of electricity are measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). One kilowatt hour is equivalent to one kilowatt (1 kW) of power used for one hour. For reference, 1 kWh will give you up to 40 minutes use of a kettle. We don’t recommend boiling your kettle for 40 minutes.
Ofgem has created different categories for users depending on the amount of people who live in your home and how many bedrooms it has. Energy suppliers then use these categories to calculate standard consumption values. As a low user on an unrestricted electricity meter, you are considered to use 1,900 kWh of electricity in a year, and 8,000 kWh of gas. On an Economy 7 or 10 meter, a low user for electricity is considered to use 2,500 kWh of electricity in a year.
Ofgem has created different categories for users depending on the amount of people who live in your home and how many bedrooms it has. Energy suppliers then use these categories to calculate standard consumption values. As a medium user on an unrestricted electricity meter, you are considered to use 3,100 kWh of electricity in a year, and 12,000 kWh of gas. On an Economy 7 or 10 meter, a medium user for electricity is considered to use 4,200 kWh of electricity in a year.
This is the process of either you or someone from your energy supplier reading your energy meter to see how much energy you have used. Taking meter readings for your home will ensure that your supplier is billing you correctly.
Monthly direct debit
This is a payment method whereby the customer pays their monthly energy bills via direct debit. Most suppliers will offer a discount if you pay using DD.
MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number)
This is the unique identifying number for the electricity supply at your property. Your MPAN is sometimes referred to as the ‘Supply Number’, and it can be found on your electricity bill.
MPRN (Meter Point Reference Number)
Your MPRN is the unique identifying number for the gas supply at your property. Your MPRN should be a ten-digit number and can be found on your gas bill.
No standing charge
If your tariff has no standing charges, then you will only pay for the energy you use. This can be useful if you leave your home unoccupied for significant periods of time.
Ofgem is the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, and is the government regulator for the electricity and gas markets in the United Kingdom.
This is a tariff which is managed online, so you can view bills, submit meter readings and check your tariff details over the internet.
Payment on receipt of bill
This is a method of paying for your energy in arrears via cash, cheque or bank transfer. This is an alternative payment method for people who do not want to pay by direct debit.
This can be best understood as pay-as-you-go energy. The customer pays for their energy upfront by topping up their prepayment meter. When the meter runs out, your supply cuts off!
This mean that you will be billed every 3 months (i.e. quarterly) for your energy usage.
This is a tariff where you pay for either gas or electricity from a supplier, rather than paying for both with the same supplier.
A smart meter is a digital meter which displays your energy usage in real time. It also digitally sends meter readings to your energy supplier, so you get more accurate energy bills, and usually comes with an IHD (in-home device) allowing you to monitor your energy use. Every home in the United Kingdom will have a smart meter made available by 2020, although there is no obligation to use one.
With this tariff your unit prices are not fixed – so can go either up or down. This means that you will not be protected against any rises in energy rates during the period of your contract.
A standing charge is the fixed cost of providing your house with electricity and gas. The best way to think about it is as a minimum charge per day for your electricity and gas supply.
Even if you don’t use any electricity or gas for a whole day, your supplier will charge you their standing charge. This covers the cost of keeping your home connected to the energy grid, carrying out meter readings, and other maintenance works.
The company who supplies your gas and/or electricity.
Your energy plan – i.e. the rates you will be charged per unit of energy consumed.
The price you are charged for each unit of energy (kWh) you use.