A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V

ACCC

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

AER

Australian Energy Regulator

Basic Plan Information Document (BPID)

A document that contains key or basic information about an energy plan.

Benefit period

Also called fixed benefit period.

The set time you get a particular benefit under the energy contract. For example, a discount for the first 12 months of the contract. There may be an exit free if you end the contract during the benefit period. You can contact your retailer to find out if this applies to your contract.

Centrepay

A free service that lets you pay your energy bills directly from your Centrelink benefits.

To find out more, ask your energy retailer or go to the Centrelink website.

Conditional discount

A discount you might get on your energy bill if you do what you agreed to do. For example, if you agreed to pay the full amount of your bill on time and you do, you will get the pay-on-time discount.

Consumption charge

Also called variable charge or usage charge.

This is the cost of the electricity or gas you use.

Also see tariff.

Contract term

Also called fixed, fixed term (except where the price is fixed) or contract length.

An offer with a contract term means a market retail contract that has a term or condition that specifies:

  • the end date of the contract
  • a way to calculate the contract end date from when the contract starts.

Controlled load

A tariff or rate you pay for some appliances, like:

  • slab or underfloor heating
  • electric hot water systems.

The retailer charges a rate just for that appliance and the energy it uses.

Controlled tariffs or rates are generally a lower rate as these appliances operate during off-peak hours (usually overnight).

For more information, see our Which type of tariff is right for you? page.

Cooling-off period

By law, you have a cooling-off period of 10 business days when you sign up to a new energy contract to cancel the contract and not pay any exit fees.

Default market offer (DMO)

The DMO is the annual electricity price cap in New South Wales, South Australia and South East Queensland where electricity prices are not regulated. The DMO protects consumers on standing offers from paying excessive prices by ensuring retailers cannot charge customers more than this price.

For more information, see our Hot topic blog about this.

Demand charge

An electricity plan that has regular usage and daily supply charges, but with demand charges added on top of these.

Demand (measured in kilowatts or kW) is a measure of how intensely you use electricity at a point in time, instead of your usage over time. Plans with demand charges aim to encourage customers to use less electricity in peak times.

Detailed Plan Information Document (DPID)

A document that contains detailed information about an energy plan.

Distributor

An electricity or gas distributor owns the power lines, poles and gas pipes that supply electricity and gas to your home or business. They also own and read your electricity and gas meters.

Contact your distributor for questions about:

  • your electricity and gas meters
  • power lines and gas pipes to your property
  • if your gas or electricity supply stops, for example, because of broken pipes or fallen power lines.

Your distributor’s number is on your bill, usually under the ‘Faults and emergencies’ section. If you are still not sure who your distributor is, contact your energy retailer or see our Who is my energy distributor? FAQ page.

Do Not Call Register

You can enter your telephone number on the Australian Government’s Do Not Call Register to stop telemarketers from telephoning you for eight years.

To do this:

  • phone 1300 792 958.

For more information, see our Salespeople page.

Energy ombudsman

Energy ombudsmen provide a free and independent dispute resolution service for energy customers – residential customers and small businesses – who have an unresolved issue with their gas or electricity provider. Each state and territory has its own energy ombudsman service which are independent and impartial bodies.

For energy ombudsman contact details, see our Useful contacts page.

Energy Rating label

Many gas and electricity appliances have a red and yellow energy rating label on them. The label gives you an idea of how energy efficient the appliance is.

The label lets you compare the energy efficiency of similar appliances, for example, two different televisions. The more stars, the better the energy efficiency.

Energy retailer

The company you pay for the gas and/or electricity you use. Some customers have the same retailer for both electricity and gas.

Before they can sell energy, retailers must have a retail authorisation from the Australian Energy Regulator. This means they can buy electricity and gas from generators (for electricity) and producers (for gas) through wholesale markets. Retailers then sell the energy to you.

Contact your retailer for questions about:

  • getting electricity or gas to your house or business
  • your electricity and gas service, including bills and sales.

Energy Star

Some appliances have a blue ENERGY STAR® label. The label is based on a US-based system to help consumers identify energy efficient appliances.

This system is voluntary in Australia, so keep in mind that the label doesn't always let you know what the most efficient appliance is. This is because it isn't a mandatory label so not all appliances have them.

Exempt seller

An exempt seller is different to a normal electricity or gas retailer. Exempt sellers buy the electricity and/or gas from an electricity or gas retailer and resell it to customers in multi-dwelling premises, such as apartment buildings, shopping centres, caravan parks or retirement villages.

For more information, see our Tenants who buy energy from a landlord page.

Exit fee

Also called a cancellation fee, termination fee or early termination fee.

You might have to pay an exit fee if you want to get out of your contract early.

Feed-in tariff

See solar feed-in tariff.

Generally available plan

An electricity or gas plan that is available to most residential and/or small business customers, in a set distribution zone, and with the appropriate meter set-up.

Restricted plans are different. For example, plans available only to staff members of a particular employer. These plans are not generally available and, therefore, are not on the Energy Made Easy website.

Generator

A company that produces electricity or gas.

Electricity is produced:

  • in power stations, using either fossil fuels (such as coal or gas)
  • with renewable energy sources (such as wind, water or the sun).

Natural gas is taken from underground, and then processed in production plants.

GreenPower

An Australian Government renewable energy accreditation scheme. It lets electricity retailers buy renewable energy for you or your business.

For more information, go to the GreenPower website.

Guaranteed discount

Also called unconditional discount, base discount or non-conditional discount.

A discount that you receive automatically when you sign up to a plan.

Hardship program

A program to help residential customers who are having difficulty paying their electricity and/or gas bills. All retailers must have a customer hardship policy.

For more information, see our Having trouble paying your bill? page.

Incentive

An incentive is a benefit given to a customer other than a discount. This may include non-price benefits, one-off price benefits or gifts that are provided to a customer upon entry to a contract.

Examples of non-price incentives include vouchers for use in energy retail stores, magazine subscriptions, cinema tickets or tickets to sporting events.

Kilojoule (KJ)

A measure of gas equal to 1000 joules.

Kilowatt (kW)

A measure of electricity equal to 1000 watts.

Kilowatt hour (kWh)

A measure of electricity equal to 1000 watt hours. It is the unit measure used on your electricity bill.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

Liquefied natural gas is bottled gas.

Market retail contract

Also called a market contract.

A contract for electricity or gas that includes terms and conditions not included in standard contracts. For example, some might offer discounts on their rates.

The tariff rates in market retail contracts are set by energy retailers.

For more information, see our Types of energy plans page.

Megajoule (MJ)

A measure of gas equal to one million joules. It is the unit measure used on your gas bill.

Megawatt (MW)

A measure of electricity equal to one million watts.

Megawatt hour (MWh)

A measure of electricity equal to one million watt hours.

Meter Installation Registration Number ( MIRN )

A MIRN is a unique number assigned to your gas service by your distributor and used by your distributor and retailers to identify your connection point. Your MIRN can be found on your gas bill.

Meter reading

Electricity and gas meters show how much electricity and/or gas has been used. They are read by meter readers – employed by distributors – and this information is used for billing purposes.

If you have a smart meter for your electricity, the meter reading is sent to your electricity distributor automatically.

National Metering Identifier (NMI)

NMI is shorthand for National Metering Identifier. A NMI is a unique 10 or 11 digit number assigned to the electricity connection at your address. Your NMI can be found on your electricity bill. Your NMI isn't the same as your electricity meter number(s). If you are having trouble finding your NMI, call your electricity retailer and ask them for it.

'No contact' list

A way to stop receiving telephone calls or visits from energy retailers about switching contracts.

For more information, see our Salespeople page.

Off-peak tariff

A cheaper price for electricity. Off-peak times are when the demand for electricity is at its lowest. These tariffs can be available:

  • for a particular appliance only (see controlled load for more information).

For more information, see our Which type of tariff is right for you? page.

Ombudsman

See energy ombudsman.

Ongoing contract with benefit period

A contract that continues at the end of the benefit period, unless cancelled by the customer or retailer.

Payment plan

An arrangement between a retailer and a customer to help the customer pay their electricity and/or gas bills.

For more information, see our Having trouble paying your bill? page.

Peak tariff

Peak tariffs or rates are included in time-of-use energy plans when electricity costs different prices at different times of the day. The ‘peak’ period is when electricity costs the most. Peak rates usually apply in the evenings from Monday to Friday.

For more information, see our Which type of tariff is right for you? page.

Pre-payment electricity meter

A way customers can buy electricity credits and transfer them to their home meter either with a smart card, token, electronic ticket or keypad.

Pre-payment meter contract

For customers with a pre-payment electricity meter.

Photovoltaic (PV) panels

Solar panels that customers can install to generate electricity.

Reference price (or reference bill)

Retailers in New South Wales, South Australia and South East Queensland (where electricity prices are not regulated) must compare all their energy offers to the same base rate whenever they advertise or market their offers. This base rate is called the reference price or reference bill. The reference price is set at the same price as the default market offer price cap.

For more information, see Default market offer or our Hot topic blog about this.

Regulated offer contract

A gas or electricity contract offered by a ‘regulated retailer’ under a regulated contract – also called a standard contract. Only available in New South Wales.

Renewable energy

Energy from natural sources, such as the sun, water, and the heat from the Earth (geothermal energy).

Retailer

See energy retailer.

Shoulder tariff

Shoulder tariffs or rates are included in time-of-use energy plans when electricity costs different prices at different times of the day. The ‘shoulder’ period is when electricity costs a bit less than the peak period. Shoulder rates usually apply in between peak and off-peak periods.

For more information, see our Which type of tariff is right for you? page.

Single rate tariff

Also called flat rate, standard rate or anytime rate.

The same rate for energy applies whatever time of day you use energy.

The rate is usually lower than the peak rate of a time-of-use tariff.

For more information, see our Which type of tariff is right for you? page.

Small business

Under national energy laws, a small business is a business using less than a nominated amount of gas and electricity.

These laws currently apply in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

For more information, see our Am I a small energy customer? page.

Smart meters

Smart meters are a special type of electricity meter. They are sometimes called interval meters, advanced meters or 'type 4' meters. They are different to other meters because they record how much electricity a house or business is using at regular times during a day, and sends these readings directly to your energy retailer or distributor electronically.

Solar contract

The contract a customer enters into with an electricity retailer when they:

  • install a solar power system
  • are connected to the main electricity grid.

Solar feed-in tariff

A solar feed-in tariff (or 'FiT') is an amount that you get back for putting solar energy into the grid.

The amount of money you get depends on:

  • the type of solar system you have
  • whether you are eligible for any state or territory government solar payments
  • if eligible, the amount your state or territory government has set
  • whether your retailer adds more to the government payments.

If you have solar panels and provide your solar export/generation data when searching for a plan, we will calculate and include any retailer feed-in tariff credits in the estimated plan costs.

For more information, see our Choices that are good for the environment page.

Solar power

The electricity made from solar panels.

Standard contract

See standing offer.

Standing offer

Also called a standard contract.

A basic plan for electricity and gas. The law sets the terms and conditions that are designed to protect the rights of residential and small business customers.

You might be on a standing offer if you have:

  • been in the same location for several years

For more information, see our Types of energy plans page.

Supply charge

Also called a fixed charge, service charge (sometimes called a service to property charge) or standing charge.

This is the cost to get electricity or gas to your house or business, even if you don't use any.

Also see tariff.

Switching

When a customer signs up to a new plan for their electricity and/or gas supply, usually with a different energy retailer.

Tariff

The price of electricity or gas under an energy plan. The tariff includes two parts:

  • supply charge (also called the service charge or fixed charge)
  • usage charge (also called the consumption charge or variable charge).

For more information, see our Which type of tariff is right for you? page.

Tariff 31, Tariff 33 or Tariff 41

Controlled load tariffs are called different things depending on where you live. Different retailers might also use different names too. Controlled load tariffs are called Tariff 31 or Tariff 33 in Queensland and Tariff 41 in Tasmania.

Tariff blocks

Some energy plans split your energy usage into different tariff blocks.

This means you pay:

  • one rate or price for the first part of your usage, then
  • a different rate or price for the next part of your usage. There may also be more rates for more blocks.

Blocks can apply to daily, monthly, or quarterly usage.

For more information, see our Which type of tariff is right for you? and Understanding gas and electricity charges pages.

Time-of-use tariff

A type of tariff which charges customers different rates for electricity depending on when it is being used. The different times are often called:

  • peak
  • shoulder
  • off-peak.

For more information, see our Which type of tariff is right for you? page.

Usage

The amount of electricity or gas you use.

Also called consumption.

Also see kilojoule (KJ), kilowatt (kW), kilowatt hour (kWh), megajoule (MJ), megawatt (MW) and megawatt hour (mWh).

Usage charge

Also called a variable charge or consumption charge.

See consumption charge.

Variable charge

Also called a usage charge or consumption charge.

See consumption charge.