At a glance:

  • The energy industry can be overwhelming for customers with its jargon and complicated terminology.
  • To help you navigate through this maze and comprehend your energy bill, we’ve created a comprehensive guide that breaks down essential buzzwords and concepts.


Have you ever felt lost while trying to understand your energy bill? The energy industry can be filled with confusing terms and jargon that may leave you scratching your head. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered!

In this article, we’ll break down common energy industry buzzwords, explain essential concepts, and help you navigate your energy bill with ease. Furthermore, this will make comparing energy plans and providers hassle-free. From comparing energy plans to understanding renewable energy, let’s delve into the world of energy terminology!

Energy Industry Buzzwords:


Biofuels are cleaner sources of energy derived from living matter, such as biogas from animal manure and organic material. They help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are eco-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels.

Carbon Footprint:

The carbon footprint represents the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from individuals, products, businesses, or events on the environment. It includes emissions from transport, land clearance, and the production and consumption of goods and fuels.

Carbon Offset:

Carbon offsetting involves balancing your carbon footprint by sponsoring projects that reduce carbon emissions, thereby helping to combat climate change.


Cogeneration, also known as Combined Heat and Power, is a highly efficient process where a single fuel source generates electricity and thermal energy simultaneously. It can significantly reduce carbon emissions compared to conventional energy sources.

Dual Fuel:

Dual fuel refers to sourcing both gas and electricity from the same energy provider, streamlining your energy services.

Feed-in Tariff:

A feed-in tariff pays you for excess electricity generated from your renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, which are then fed back into the power grid.

Fossil Fuel:

Fossil fuels, like coal, petroleum, and natural gas, are carbon-based energy sources formed over millions of years. Using fossil fuels for electricity generation emits greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change.

National Electricity Market (NEM):

The NEM is Australia’s wholesale electricity market, supplying electricity to retailers and end-users in various regions.

Photovoltaic (PV) Systems:

PV systems generate renewable energy by using semiconductors exposed to sunlight, producing an electric current. Solar panels are a common example of PV systems.

Renewable Energy:

Renewable energy is generated from sources that naturally replenish, such as sunlight, wind, water, and biomass. These sources do not emit greenhouse gases, making them eco-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels.

Renewable Energy Target (RET):

The RET is a government policy aiming to ensure a specific amount of Australia’s electricity comes from renewable sources by a given target year.

Energy Bills and Plans Terminology:

Bill Smoothing:

Bill smoothing allows you to spread the estimated yearly energy cost into equal monthly, fortnightly, or weekly payments for better budget management.

Carbon Offset Programs:

Energy providers may offer programs where a portion of your energy usage is matched in carbon credits to support renewable energy initiatives.

Conditional Discount:

Customers can avail of discounts based on fulfilling certain conditions, such as paying bills on time.

Default Market Offer (DMO):

The DMO is a price cap imposed on energy retailers by the Australian Energy Regulator in Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.


Your energy distributor supplies power or gas to your property through the distribution networks.

Guaranteed Discount:

An offer that guarantees a specific discount, such as a percentage or dollar amount off your bill.

Hardship Plan:

Energy providers offer hardship plans to assist customers facing financial difficulties by providing options for bill payment extensions or instalment plans.

Kilowatt Hours (kWh):

Units used to measure energy consumption in electricity usage.

Megajoule (MJ):

A unit used to measure gas usage.


Numbers are used to identify your electricity and gas meters, respectively.

Read Type – Actual or Estimate:

An actual reading is the precise energy meter reading, while an estimated reading is based on calculations when the distributor cannot access your meter.

Reference Price:

The reference price serves as a benchmark for comparing energy plans.


Your energy retailer bills you for energy supplied to your home or business and offers various plans and deals.

Smart Meters:

Digital meters that automatically send electronic readings to your energy provider.

Supply Charge and Tariff:

The supply charge is a fee for electricity delivery, while the tariff is the pricing plan or rate charged for your energy consumption.

Time-of-use Plans:

Tariffs that charge different rates based on peak, shoulder, and off-peak time periods.

Usage Charge:

The fee is charged per kilowatt-hour of energy usage for electricity.

Victorian Market Offer (VMO):

A default offer for energy customers in Victoria.


With this jargon-busting cheat sheet, you’re equipped to tackle energy industry buzzwords and decode your energy bill like a pro. Understanding these terms empowers you to make informed decisions when comparing energy plans and energy retailers. So, take control of your energy usage and explore the best energy options for your needs!

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