Energy Industry Jargon Buster | Surple | Make Smarter Energy Decisions

Energy Industry Jargon Buster

The energy industry can be confusing, especially if you’re new to the sector.

That’s why we’ve created this helpful Energy Industry Jargon Buster to help you navigate your way through the acronyms and technical terms that you’re likely to encounter working in the energy industry.

We’ve tried our best to cover all of the essential and commonly misunderstood terms from within the sector. But, if you feel like we’ve missed anything important, we’d love to hear from you! Please drop us an email at team@surple.co.uk, and we’ll add your terms to our Energy Industry Jargon Buster.

Surple’s Energy Industry Jargon Buster

To make things easier, we’ve divided our Jargon Buster into five sections. Use the links below to jump right to the section you’re looking for.

Market →
Units →
Metering →
Tariffs & Billing →
Energy Management →

Market

Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM):

The government regulator for the electricity and gas markets in the UK. Their role is to protect consumers by working to deliver a greener and fairer energy system.

Distribution Network Operator (DNO):

A company licensed to distribute electricity or gas in the UK. These companies are responsible for the cables, towers and gas pipes that bring electricity and gas to homes and businesses.

Transmission Network:

The network of pylons and cables that transmit higher voltage electricity from power stations where it’s produced to areas where it’s needed across the UK.

Distribution Network:

The network that carries lower voltage electricity that’s been converted from the high voltage transmission network to industrial, commercial and domestic consumers.

Energy Supplier:

The business that presents you with your electricity and gas bills. Energy Suppliers buy energy in the wholesale market and sell it on to consumers. Customers can choose any supplier they like to provide them with gas and electricity. 

Data Collector (DC):

The organisation responsible for determining the amount of energy you’ve been supplied to ensure you are billed correctly. To do this, the DC visits your meter to take a manual read, or remotely obtains the data via a secure network. Clients with half-hourly meters must appoint a DC. By default, your business energy supplier will likely act as your DC. But, businesses can nominate an independent third-party.

Data Aggregator (DA): 

A Data Aggregator is an agent appointed to aggregate the meter reading data and forward this information to your energy supplier. Your DA is typically the same organisation as your Data Collector as many agents offer combined DCDA contracts. 

Letter Of Authority (LOA):

A signed letter authorising another individual or organisation to deal with your energy accounts on your behalf. LOAs are commonly requested by third-parties such as Energy Management Software companies so that they can access energy data from your Data Collector.

Units

Kilowatt (kW):

A unit of electrical power. 1 kW is equivalent to 1000 watts.

Kilowatt Hour (kWh): 

A unit of gas and electricity equivalent to the amount of energy it would require to run a 1,000 watt (1 kilowatt) appliance or gadget for an hour. 

Tonnes Of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (tCO2e):

The standard unit of measurement used to quantify greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Commonly used for carbon accounting. 

Calorific Value (CV):

An essential part of the calculation to determine gas consumption based on the amount of heat generated from its combustion.

Metering

Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN):

The unique 21 digit code used to identify electricity supply points. Sometimes also called the ‘Supply Number’ or ‘S Number.’ Can be found on the physical electricity meter. An MPAN is commonly separated into two sections: the core and the top line data. The core is the final 13 digits and is the unique identifier. The top line data gives information about the characteristics of the supply and is the responsibility of the supplier. 

Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN):

A unique 6-10 digit code for a gas supply point. Can be found on the physical gas meter. Sometimes also known as an ‘M Number’.

Meter Serial Number (MSN):

A unique number that identifies a physical electricity or gas meter. If the meter is changed, your MSN will also change, but your MPAN or MPRN will remain the same.

Meter Operator (MOP):

A company that goes to a site, installs meters and provides any required on-going meter maintenance. A MOP contract is a legal requirement for all half-hourly meters.

Meter Asset Manager (MAM):

A company that’s responsible for the design, installation, commissioning, maintenance, removal and disposal of gas supply meters. MAMs are essentially the gas meter equivalent of an electricity meter operator (MOP). 

Metering Point Address Details (MPAD):

Information about the physical location of a meter. Also commonly known as the ‘Site Address’. 

Smart Meter: 

The next-generation of gas and electricity meters. Smart meters can automatically send information about your energy consumption to your supplier, eliminating the need for you to take and submit manual meter readings. They can also display your energy use on digital displays.

Half-hourly (HH) meter:

Electricity or gas meters that read at half-hourly granularity. A half-hourly meter is a specialised type of business electricity meter that uses telecommunications technology to take and transmit meter readings every half hour.

Non-half-hourly (NHH) meter:

Electricity or gas meters that don’t read data at half-hourly granularity – usually smaller energy supplies.

Half-hourly Data (HHD):

The energy consumption data read directly from a half-hourly meter. Suppliers often analyse HHD to help them work out a contract price for a customer.

Automatic Meter Reading (AMR):

The term used to describe a metering system that provides automatic meter readings remotely. This system typically uses telecommunications technology to transfer the data from the meter to a central hub, used for billing or analysis purposes. Half-hourly metering is an example of AMR technology. 

Profile Class (PC):

A meter’s Profile Class provides the electricity supplier with an expectation about how electricity will be consumed by the meter throughout the day. There are eight profile classes. The first two digits of a meter’s MPAN represent its Profile Class.

Sub-metering:

The process of installing meters or data loggers downstream from a main utility meter. It can help in measuring the consumption and efficiency of specific equipment, processes or locations. It’s also valuable for billing purposes when there are several tenants occupying one building. The process applies to water meters, gas meters, or electricity meters.

Internet of Things (IoT):

The Internet of Things describes the network of physical objects that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet. IoT is becoming more prevalent in the energy industry as businesses and consultants seek to gather as much data about buildings as possible to help improve efficiency. 

Tariffs & Billing

Unit Rate:

The price per unit of energy in kWh charged by a supplier.

Fixed Rate Tariff:

Fixed Rate energy tariffs are a type of gas and electricity tariff that offer a locked-in rate per kWh for a designated period (usually one year or more). These tariffs protect households and businesses from sudden energy price increases.

Standard Variable Tariff:

An energy deal in which the rate you pay for gas and electricity fluctuates. Often works out to be more expensive than a Fixed Rate Tariff. If you’ve previously had a Fixed Rate Tariff and failed to switch after it expired, you likely will have been reverted to your supplier’s standard variable tariff.

Renewable Energy Tariff:

A tariff where 100% of your electricity is generated from renewable resources and, often, a portion of the gas supplied is ‘green gas’ or biomethane.

Standing Charge: 

The rate you pay to your energy supplier that remains the same regardless of how much energy you use. The standing charge covers the upkeep of your connection to the mains supply and servicing of your account.

Energy Management

ISO 50001:

The International Operating Standard for energy management. Its purpose is to support organisations in all sectors to improve energy efficiency through the development of an energy management process. Businesses can get ISO 50001 certified by third-party organisations to demonstrate their commitment to energy management.

Energy Conservation Measure (ECM):

An Energy Conservation Measure (ECM) can be defined as any process, technology, or installation designed to improve the energy performance of a building.

Measurement & Verification (M&V):

Measurement & Verification is the term given to the process for quantifying savings delivered by an Energy Conservation Measure (ECM).

International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP):

The IPMVP defines standard terms and suggests best practice for quantifying the results of energy efficiency investments.

Energy Management Software (EMS):

Specialised software designed to help organisations improve energy efficiency by taking in data, performing analysis and providing insight.

Degree Days:

A specialist kind of weather data, calculated from readings of outside air temperature, used commonly in calculations relating to building energy consumption. Heating degree days indicate the energy consumption required for heating and cooling degree days indicate the energy consumption needed for cooling.

Energy Consulting:

Energy consulting is focused on optimising a businesses energy usage, as well as the sources from which the energy is derived. Energy consulting is often focused on reducing operational costs, though this is not always the case. Some consultants specialise in carbon reduction. 

Demand Side Response (DSR):

Businesses on a Demand Side Response (DSR) scheme commit to reducing or shifting their energy consumption when UK electricity demand from the Grid threatens to exceed supply. With DSR, businesses can earn revenue by supporting National Grid in times of peak demand or system stress.


Thanks for using our Energy Industry Jargon Buster. We hope you’ve found it valuable.

If you need more guidance, check out the Surple Blog for a selection of useful guides and free resources.

And remember, we’d love to hear from you! Please drop us an email at team@surple.co.uk if you think we’ve missed anything important, and we’ll happily add them to our Energy Industry Jargon Buster.

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