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What does that mean? – energy Jargon Buster

 

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.

 

Account number

Your unique account number which your supplier uses to identify your details.

 

Actual reading

This will appear on your bill if your meter has been read and recorded – as opposed to your supplier estimating your reading.

 

Cancellation fees

Some energy suppliers will charge cancellation fees, which you will be obliged to pay if you leave your tariff before the specified end-date.

 

Capped tariff

This means that your prices under this tariff will be capped, i.e. they can go down but can’t go up.

 

Cooling-off period

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.

 

Dual fuel

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.

 

Energy consumption

This is the amount of energy your household uses, measured in kilowatt hours (kWh).

 

Energy efficiency

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.

 

Energy supplier

This is who supplies your property with electricity and/or gas.

 

Estimated bills

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.

 

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.

 

Fuel mix

This is the breakdown of the fuels which are used to generate the energy you receive.

 

Green gas

This is a type of gas created from biodegradable material that can be used in the same way as traditional fossil fuel gas.

 

Green tariff

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.

 

High user

Ofgem (the gas and electricity market regulator) have 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 4,950 kWh of electricity in a year, and 28,000 kWh of gas.

 

Kilowatt hour

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.

 

Low user

Ofgem (the gas and electricity market regulator) have 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 you are considered to use 1,650 kWh of electricity in a year, and 10,000 kWh of gas.

 

Medium user

Ofgem (the gas and electricity market regulator) have 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 you are considered to use 3,300 kWh of electricity in a year, and 20,500 kWh of gas.

 

Meter reading

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.

 

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

Ofgem is the government regulator for the electricity and gas markets in Britain.

 

Online tariff

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.

 

Prepayment tariffs

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!

 

Quarterly bills

This mean that you will be billed every 3 months (i.e. quarterly) for your energy usage.

 

Single fuel

This is a tariff where you pay for either gas or electricity from a supplier, rather than paying for both with the same supplier.

 

Smart meter

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.

 

Standard tariff

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.

 

Standing charge

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.

 

Supplier

The company who supplies your gas and/or electricity.

 

Tariff

Your energy plan – i.e. the rates you will be charged per unit of energy consumed.

 

Unit rate

The price you are charged for each unit of energy (kWh) you use.