Agreed Capacity

The maximum electrical load a customer may use in the property as agreed with the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO).

Annual Quantity (AQ)

Annual gas consumption on a site. This comes from the national database, and is based on historical usage from previous years. Measured in kWh (electricity) or Therms (gas). It is also called TRANSCO AQ as historically this information was supplied by Transco. The figure is based on the consumption from January – December in the previous year but the database is only up-dated in October. From 2016 will move into a ‘Rolling AQ’ regime, whereby the system will look to calculate a revised AQ on a monthly basis, providing appropriate read data is available. A supplier can do an AQ appeal if a different figure is evident from recent bills. Gas contracts are usually based on the AQ not the estimated annual consumption (EAC)

Automatic Meter Read (AMR)

AMR meter provides automatic meter readings remotely. Unlike HH meters, AMR meters only supply monthly or daily readings. While an AMR meter saves the need for a manual meter read it can also be controlled remotely to cut off supply. The government encourages AMR’s as part of their smart meter program in the hope that having more detailed and accurate consumption data available consumers will be able to reduce their electricity consumption. Many suppliers will fit an AMR free of charge while one supplier has an additional quarterly charge for AMR’s. Many AMR meter can by re-configured remotely to become HH meters.

Availability (KVA)

Availability (kVA) or Agreed Capacity refers to the limit of capacity for a site, e.g. if a site has an Availability of 150 kVA then maximum demand should not exceed that figure at any time. It is set and charged by the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO), according to the kVA of a premise. This fee covers investment and maintenance of the electricity network and can also be called the Capacity Charge. Customers pay a fee (per unit) according to the agreed capacity for that site. In theory, maximum demand should not exceed the agreed capacity at any time. If this figure is too high or too low a review can be requested from local distributer. There are proposals in place to penalise excessive demand at a high penalty rate from April 2018. It is therefore vital for any HH customer to ensure they have the correct capacity for their requirements as having too much capacity means paying for something you don’t need; having too little capacity will mean paying penalty charges.

Balancing Services Use of System Charges (BSUoS)

Charges that are paid by the electricity suppliers based on the energy taken from or supplied to the National Grid System in each Half-hour settlement period.  These charges are usually incorporated in the unit rates but may be shown on the bill as a separate item and/or varied as pass through charges.

Calorific Value (CV)

Amount of heat given by the specified quantity of gas. This is used to calculate the energy consumed based on the volume of gas used. It is measured in joules per kilogram. The actual figure can vary slightly according to the atmosphere and distribution zone. The figure stated on the bill is an average for the billing period.

Capacity Charge

A set charge by the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) for investment and maintenance of the electricity network, based on the Agreed Capacity of a property. This can also be called the Availability Charge.

CfD – Contracts for Difference

See: EMR Electricity Market Reform.

CM – Capacity Market

See: EMR – Electricity Market Reform.

Climate Change Levy (CCL)

CCL is a government-imposed tax to encourage reduction in gas emissions and greater efficiency of energy used for business or non-domestic purposes. CCL is chargeable on units/kWh used. The rate of CCL is index-linked and therefore increases on 1 April each year. Naturally Green energy is CCL exempt. Also exempt are charitable and domestic use. A respective VAT declaration form needs to be completed with your supplier, which will declare the percentage of qualifying use. To find out whether your supply qualifies for the discount check with the HMRC (see our table of links) as not all charities are considered charitable use!

Commodity Charge

A fee levied by National Grid on the quantity of gas transported through the system.


When a customer purchases energy from a supplier he automatically enters a contract. Ideally a contract is being signed either for a fixed term or open ended in which case he will receive negotiated prices.  (see also Deemed Contract).

Contract Price

Price of a unit of gas or electricity that the shipper charges the customer. On a fixed term contract this should not change until the contract ends; however most contracts allow for pass-through charges, new taxes and levies etc. to be passed on to the customer. It is therefore important when comparing prices to do so on a like-for-like basis i.e. not to compare contract rates that can increase with contract rates that are fixed.

Daily Contract Quantity (DCQ)

The quantity of gas to be supplied daily to a site (sales contract) or to a terminal (supply contract).  On some large corporative contracts there might be a maximum daily quantity you are allowed to use.

Data Aggregator (DA)

The agent appointed to aggregate the meter reading data that is received from the Data Collectors (DC) and subsequently forwarded to the Supplier.

Data Collector (DC)

An organisation accredited by the Pool Accreditation Body to carry out Data Collection for Half Hourly (HH) Metering Systems. The DC is appointed by the Suppliers to retrieve and validate metering data and forward it, by Metering System, to the Data Aggregator. The DC may be appointed by the customer but must always be accredited and contracted to the customers Supplier.

Deemed Contract

A contract that is deemed to apply when a customer begins a new supply at a property or has ended his previous contract and has not signed a (new) written contract for its supply. These contracts have a defaulted rate, which can be more than double the contract rate, for supply until a customer requests a fixed price for a fixed period.

Distribution Network Operators (DNO)

Companies that are responsible for operating the networks that connect electricity consumers to the national transmission system and provide interconnection with embedded generation. There are 14 regional distributors who maintain the electrical network.

Distribution Use Of System Charges (DUOS)

These charges are published costs made by each Distribution Company for delivering electricity from the Grid Supply Point to the customers’ premises. Some suppliers will have an extra line on the bill for these charges but for most they are included in the standing charge though they are called pass-through-charges and depending on the contract terms their increase maybe passed on to the customer.

Domestic / Non Domestic Supply

A site which is primarily used as residential must sign a domestic contract (with its extended protection) and cannot sign a commercial contract. A Supply Point with an AQ of 73,200kWH (2500 therms) or less, is deemed as a domestic AQ, which does not have an exact figure . A supply point with an AQ of over 73,00kWh is deemed as non-domestic.

ECOES – Electricity Central Online Enquiry Service
ECOES holds the national database of all electricity meters in the UK. Suppliers and some non-domestic customers can access their data. The service is designed to make a transfer easier and more secure by minimizing erroneous registrations.

EII – Energy Intensive Industry

EIIs are Energy Intensive Industries which include sectors such as metal casting, heavy manufacturing and mining, and are distinguished by their trade and electricity intensity.

There is a government proposal to exempt those industries from a significant proportion1 of the costs of the Renewables Obligation (RO) and the Small Scale Feed-in Tariff (ss-FiT), in order to ensure that they maintain their competitiveness internationally but non-exempt customers will pay extra to cover the cost of the exemptions. This cross-subsidy will put further upward pressure on prices for these non-EII customers.

Estimated Annual Consumption (EAC)

A customer’s estimated annual electricity consumption based on recent bills/meter readings. Non‑Half Hourly Electricity quotes are based on the EAC provided by the customer.

EMR – Electricity Market Reform

The Government has introduced new measures to ensure the UK’s future electricity supply is reliable and will meet our targets for the reduction in carbon emissions whilst minimising costs for customers. The measures and associated legislation is collectively called Electricity Market Reform (EMR). EMR includes both new incentive schemes for low carbon generation and the provision of generating capacity to ensure that the UK continues to have a reliable supply of power.

The costs of these new measures are to be recovered by new taxes on electricity which have been introduced by the legislation.

EMR includes Contracts for Difference (CfD) and the Capacity Market (CM). Customers may see charges relating to these regulatory changes on their bills after May 15 under ‘Taxes, Levies and Other Statutory Obligations’.

The CfD Operational Levy covers the operational costs of administrating CfD and is charged at a pence per kWh basis and will be reviewed by the relevant regulatory body on an annual basis.

The CfD Interim Rate Levy, CM Settlement Costs Instalments and CM Levy cover the other administration and operational components of CfD and CM. These charges will be subject to reconciliation. Reconciliation will appear on bills as additional lines in due course.

Feed-in-tariff (FiT)

This is the main government market mechanism to support renewable energy by private investors.  Home and business owners who install renewable energy generators such as solar panels receive a high pay-back for the electricity generated, which is fed-into-the system or used locally. Hence the name Feed-in-Tariff. Electricity consumers are obliged to contribute towards the cost of installation of renewable energy by way of sharing the total cost paid out as FiT. As they are not predictable before the quarterly reconciliation, some suppliers will list them separately on the bill an estimated amount and/or reconcile when the final figures are available.

Fixed Charge

A daily, monthly or quarterly charge levied by the supplier and is in addition to the standing charge. Fixed Charges include Standing Charges and Availability Charges.

Fixed Term Contracts

Supply contract for a fixed price, over a fixed period of time. Depending on the terms of the contract, some elements of the fixed price may increase during the contract term.

Force Majeure

Unexpected and disruptive event beyond the control of buyer or seller that interferes with a party’s ability to perform under a contract. A force majeure event will typically relieve a party from a contractual obligation.

Fossil Fuel

The common fossil fuels are oil, coal, and natural gas.

Fossil Fuel Levy

In England and Wales the Fossil Fuel Levy. This levy was introduced to cover the cost of decommissioning the nuclear generating plants. The Scottish equivalent is called the S.R.O. (Scottish Renewable Order) levy. This levy has now been replaced with the Climate Change Levy (CCL)

Gas Transporter (GT)

Responsible for maintaining a gas supply network. They may also be requested by the Supplier via the Shipper to provide a meter for the consumers usage. Requires a GT licence.

Giga Watt (GW)

Giga Watt 1,000 MW.

Half Hourly (HH) Meters

A communication device connected to the meter allowing the data collector to remotely connects to the meter, obtaining half-hourly consumption.  The supplier will then receive this information from the data collector and bill the client accordingly. A HH meter is required for any site using more than 100kVA. OFGEM are now planning to convert all profile 05-08 meters to HH.

Half Hourly Data (HHD)

HHD is the product of the half-hour data meter. The data is usually made available to end users by way of a spreadsheet. A full years’ half-hour data will be a spreadsheet that runs 48 columns across (for every half-hour) and 365 rows down (for every day) Half Hourly Meters. This information is needed by the supplier when you request a quote for a HH metered site.

High Voltage (HV)

High Voltage (11,000 Volts or above).

Independent Public Gas Transporter (IGT)

An independent company who has responsibility of the maintenance of a gas supply network in competition to National Grid Gas. Some supplier will have a different standing charge for meters supplied by IGT.

Kilovolt Amperes (KVA)

Also known as Total Power. The resultant effect of the active (kW) and reactive (kVAr) power is the total power measured in kVa. Kva = kW/power factor.

Kilowatt / Hour (KW /H)

A standard unit of electrical power equal to 1,000 watts. Kilowatts are the units used to measure Maximum Demand. Kilowatt hour is a unit of energy consumed. KWH’s are now also used to measure gas. While an electricity meter displays kwh’s, units shown on a gas meter need to be converted into kwh’s. The formula for old imperial meters is: metered units x 2.83 x1.02264 x calorific value (varies but usually between 39-40)/3.6 for the newer metric meters you omit the multiplication of 2.83 so it’s just: metered units x1.02264 x calorific value(varies but usually between 39-40)/3.6. A bill from your current supplier will show your usage in kWh.

Large Supply Point

A supply point where the gas consumption (AQ) is equal to or exceeds 732,000 kWh/25,000 therms per annum.

Line Loss Factor

The Line Loss Factor or LLF is used to calculate the related Distribution Use of System (DUoS) charges for the MPAN. The figure reflects both the amount of distribution infrastructure used to supply the exit point and the amount of energy lost through heating of cables, transformers, etc

Load Factor

Measures the relationship between unit consumption and maximum demand and is the percentage capacity utilisation figure of a site’s power consumption. To calculate load factor take the total number of units of consumption, divide by the maximum demand, divide by the number of hours in the period, and multiply by 100.

Low Voltage (LV)

Low Voltage, normally at 240 or 415 Volts.

M Number Database

A web based application held by National Grid used by suppliers to view basic site details of sites not in their ownership. See xoserve.

Maximum Annual Quantity (MAQ)

Total quantity of gas to be delivered to the customer sites during the contract year. Usually defined in a Take or Pay clause.

Maximum Demand

Maximum Demand is the highest peak of usage (kWH) in any Half Hour during a calendar month or between two meter readings measured in either kW or kVA. This value is multiplied by 2 to give the MD on an hourly basis. If the MD is higher than the permitted kVA, the supplier will charge for the excess kVA during that month. While most suppliers will charge the same rate as for the agreed capacity, proposals are in place to make a punitive charge to start from April 2018. If the MD persistently exceeds the authorized capacity, the distributer/supplier will demand an increase in the capacity with the additional costs involved.

MD – Maximum Demand

Mega Watt (MW)

Mega Watt – a measure of power, one million watts.

Meter Operator (MOp)

The organisation appointed to maintain metering equipment. HH customers are required to agree an MOP contract, which usually runs for 3 or 5 years.

Meter Operator Charges (MOp Charges)

This annual charge defined in the MOP contract covers the cost of maintaining metering equipment.

Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN)

A 13 digit number to identify an electricity supply point. This number is printed on your electricity bill. If you don’t know it i.e. you just moved into a new property you call your regional MPAS to find out.

The MPAN usually starts with S and is divided into different sections:


Meter Point Administration Service (MPAS)

Organisations that holds all information of MPANs on behalf of the regional electricity distributer.

Meter Point Reference Number (MPR or MPRN)

The 10 digit meter point ID for gas meters. This number is printed on your gas bill but does not display on your meter. If you don’t know it i.e. you just moved into a new property you call the MPR enquiry line on 0870 608 1524 to find out.

Meter Serial Number

The number stamped on the front of the meter. This changes when meter is exchanged. It is often printed on your bill for identification purposes but not normally used in any correspondence though you may be asked to provide it in some forms.


A company is considered a micro business if it meets one of the following criteria:

  • For gas supply agreements it consumes less than 293’071kwh of gas a year or
  • For electricity supply agreements, it consumes less than 100’000kwh electricity a year; or
  • For gas and/or electricity supply agreements, it has fewer than 10 employees (or the full time equivalent of it) and an annual turnover or annual balance sheet total of less than €2m.

A microbusiness has similar legal protections as a domestic contract in particular regarding the renewal process and has access to the energy ombudsman in case of an unresolved complaint against the supplier.

Minimum/Maximum Clause

A percentage of the nominated/expected consumption that the customer must use or pay for the difference or being charged a higher rate for over usage. Though most commercial contracts have such a clause; it is often only enforced with larger customers.

MPAN – Metering Point Administration Number for electricity

MPR/N – Metering Point Reference Number for gas


Mega Watt hour, one thousand kWh. A 1 MW power-generating unit running for 1 hour produces 1 MWh of electrical energy.

National Grid

The National Grid owns the main transmission systems and is responsible for transmitting the electricity from the generator to the local RECs area. All electricity generated in mainland UK is put into the National Grid before fed into distribution networks. They also run the national gas network and are responsible for your external gas pipes until and including your gas meter. In a gas emergency you call them on 0800 111 999

National Transmission System (NTS)

National Grids high pressure gas network.

Non Half Hourly (NHH) Meters

Unlike HH meter a meter reader must visit the site to obtain readings but suppliers have started to fit AMR’s or smart meters. NHH supplies are identified by profiles 01 – 08. OFGEM are now planning to convert all profile 05-08 meters to HH.


Irrespective of the consumption; a non-domestic supply needs to be supplied under a commercial contract.


This is when the old suppliers stop you from transferring your supply either because you are still in contract including the absence of a valid termination notice or the customer has an aged debt on the account.

Once you have been notified of an objection, you should inform Alpine Energy immediately so we can try to resolve it quickly, as a delay in resolving it could make a new application necessary and delay the transfer.

OFGEM is the government regulator for Gas and electricity markets.


A domestic or micro-business customer can appeal to the ombudsman if the supplier failed to rectify a complaint within 8 weeks or they have sent you a deadlock letter.

Pass Through Charges

Charges that cover the costs of third parties involved in the energy supply chain to deliver power and also include government levy’s and environmental charges such as FiT, RO etc. Some contracts have all or some of them fixed and included in the contract charges, others will pass on to the customer any increases and/or list them separately on the bill.

Profile Class (PC)

The first 2 digits of a full MPAN are called profile class and indicated the category of your electricity supply whether it, domestic, economy 7, small business, maximum demand or half-hourly.

Reactive Charges

Charges applied to a clients invoice in cases where certain suppliers and distribution companies enforce a penalty for Reactive Power use.

Reactive Power (KVAR)

This is the difference between the electricity supplied and the electricity converted into useful power. If the difference is large, i.e. there is a large amount of power being wasted, its puts an additional strain on the distribution network. The loss of power can be caused by kinetic energy (heat) or through defective machinery. This is measured via the Reactive register on a meter and is charged to the customer depending on how much they accumulate.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is used to describe the energy produced using naturally replenishing resources. This includes solar power, wind, wave and tide and hydroelectricity. Wood, straw and waste are often called solid renewable energy, while landfill gas and sewerage gas can be described as gaseous renewables.

Renewable Obligation (RO)

This is the main government market mechanism to support renewable energy. It is an obligation on all electricity suppliers to supply a certain amount of their electricity sales from accredited renewable sources under the Climate Change Levy exemption scheme. As they are not predictable for long time ahead some suppliers will list them separately on the bill and/or pass on to the customer any increases.


A geographic location at which gas is consumed by the customer. There may be several gas meters at a site, which measure the volume of gas consumed.

SME – small and medium enterprise

Some suppliers will have a SME and a corporate dept.

Standing Charge

Is a daily, monthly or quarterly fixed charge to contribute towards installation, maintenance and administration costs for the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO).

Sub Station

These play an important part of the national grid. They contain transformers that increase or decrease the voltage of an electric current.


A person authorised by a supply licence to supply electricity or gas to the National Grid Network, via the Shipper.

Supply Number

S-Number (also known as MPAN – Meter Point Administration Number). A unique number identifying the distribution company and the location of the metering point.

Take or Pay

A minimum amount of gas or electricity that needs to be consumed as per contract or the customer will be required the difference.

Tariff Structure

Suppliers quote for electricity in numerous different formats. These range from simple one-rated structures (the same price per kW at all times throughout the year) to complex “Seasonal Time of Day” tariffs, which are multi-rated. i.e. the price changes three, six or eight times a day.


A unit of energy measurement. To calculate equivalent value in kWh, multiply by 29.3071.


The transfer of electricity at high voltage from the power stations across the UK through wires on pylons to points where it can be distributed to users. This is known as the Grid System and is owned and operated by the National Grid Company (NGC).

Transmission Losses (Line Losses)

When transmitting electricity from generator to local distribution network areas some electricity is lost. Specific calculations have to be made by suppliers to determine the level of these losses.

Transmission Use of System (TUoS)

The charges are incurred for transmitting electricity across the National Grid network from the source of generation to the network of the local distribution company.

Transportation Charge

A charge made by National Grid for the national transport of the shippers gas through the gas network (National and Regional Transmission system and the low and medium pressure distribution system) to the customer. The transportation charge consists of three elements, which are dependent on the locations of the particular terminal and offtake site: capacity charge; commodity charge; and site charge. Some contracts allow for any increase of this charge to be passed on to the customer.

Unit Price

The price per unit of energy, which includes 3 components only energy wholesale price (energy at NBP), infrastructure costs and a cost to serve element


A unit used to measure the electromotive force of an electric current.


Xoserve, delivers transportation transactional services on behalf of all major gas transportation companies.