Glossary

ACCC

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

AER

Australian Energy Regulator

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 fee if you end the contract during the benefit period. You can contact your retailer to find out if this applies to your contract.

Cancellation fee

Also called an exit fee or early termination fee.

The fee you might have to pay if you want to get out of your contract early.

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, you agreed you will pay the full amount of your bill on time and you do—you will get the pay on time discount.

Consumption charge

Also called a variable charge or usage charge.

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

Also see tariff.

Contract term

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

Controlled load

A tariff you pay for some appliances, like:

  • slab or underfloor heating, or
  • electric hot water systems.

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

Controlled rates are usually lower.

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

Cooling off period

By law, you have a 10 business day cooling off period if you sign up to a new energy contract to:

  • cancel the contract, and
  • not pay any exit fees.

Daily supply charge

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

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.

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:

For more information, see our Salespeople page.

Early termination fee

Also called an exit fee or cancellation fee.

See cancellation fee.

Energy ombudsman

The energy ombudsman:

  • is run by the government
  • helps customers to resolve problems with an energy retailer or distributor.

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

Energy Price Fact Sheet

A short document that sets out the prices and key terms and conditions for the energy offer.

Energy retailers must give customers an Energy Price Fact Sheet for all generally available offers in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania or the Australian Capital Territory.

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 TVs. 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. 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 system to help consumers identify energy efficient appliances.

It is voluntary in Australia, so keep in mind the label doesn't always let you know what the most efficient appliance is. This is because it isn't always on similar appliances.

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 resells it to customers in a multi-dwelling premises, such as an apartment building, shopping centre, caravan park or retirement village.

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

Exit fee

Also called a cancellation fee or early termination fee.

See cancellation fee.

Feed-in tariff

The price that customers get for the solar energy their solar panels put into the electricity grid. The price depends on the state or territory you live in and the contract with your retailer.

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

Fixed charge

Also called a service charge (sometimes called service to property charge) or daily supply charge.

See daily supply charge.

Generally available offer

An electricity or gas offer that is:

  • available to most residential and/or small business customers, and
  • in a set distribution zone, and
  • with the appropriate meter set-up.

Limited offers are different. For example, offers available only to members of a particular club. These offers are not generally available and 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), or
  • 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.

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.

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 contract

See market retail contract.

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 offers page.

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.

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.

Non-conditional discount

A discount that you receive automatically when you sign up to an offer. 

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 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.

For more information on how a benefit period works, see benefit period.

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.

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.

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.

Service charge

Sometimes called a service to property charge.

Also called a fixed charge or daily supply charge.

See daily supply charge.

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 Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

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

Solar contract

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

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

Solar power

The electricity made from solar panels.

Standard contract

See standing offer.

Standing offer

Also called a standard contract.

A basic offer 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:

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

Switching

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

Tariff

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

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

Tariff blocks

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

This means you pay:

  • one rate or cost for the first part of your usage, then
  • a different rate or cost for the next part of your usage. There might be more rates too 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, and
  • off-peak.

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

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.

Last updated on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 14:30