Energy jargon explained

Sometimes it can be irritating finding yourself confused with all the jargon, phrasing and terminology used on your bill while reading and trying your damnedest to understand how on earth you spent that much on electricity and gas this month.

So, in order to enable you to cruise smoothly through the land of convoluted words and energy abbreviations, we’ve made a short but convenient cheat sheet so you’ll have the option to talk KWh as well as the next energy expert!

Here’s a rundown of a few words and phrases that you will regularly go over on your gas and power bills:

Kilowatt hours (kWh) – The aforementioned term alludes to just another type of energy measurement amongst many. If there is a constant rate of energy consumption by your household over a stretch of time, the total amount of energy that is spent is a direct result of that energy measured in kilowatts and the period of time in hours. So, the amount of energy consumption by your home is measured in kWh.

NMI –  It’s often included in your bill and what NMI represents is – the National Meter Identifier. As the name suggests, the electricity meter installed at your home is identified by this number.

Bill smoothing – If you don’t want to let power and gas costs heap up like a mountain over a whole quarter, you can use the benefit of what numerous energy suppliers give to their clients – That being the better alternative of spreading out evenly the assessed yearly cost of the service they provide over equivalent month to month, fortnightly or week to week payments. This is what is called a bill smoothing procedure which can prove as a very useful technique when dealing with the family budget.

Retailer – The very company that takes care of providing and supplying your household with power straight from the energy grid is what is commonly called an energy provider or retailer. Your energy provider is also the company that directly offers you various sorts of deals, plans, arrangements and discounts regarding electricity and gas. The energy market throughout many states in Australia is deregulated. So, that means that energy provider clients in certain states, for example, are free to pick any energy retailer they deem suitable or appropriate to their family budget, plans and needs.

 Tariff – Earlier above we talked about retailers or providers. Now, the energy providers issue pricing plans and contracts regarding the energy consumption of your or any household. That is exactly what the term “tariff” refers to. The tariff is commonly comprised of two segments, which are: a fixed expense or cost and the usage charge.  So, both the usage charge and the fixed energy cost are tied directly to and depend on the amount of energy used. Tariffs are not set in stone and they usually tend to vary from retailer to retailer. Your distributor also plays a role in your tariff.


With this, we hope you’ll find yourself more familiar with the terms we covered the next time you go over your bill!

Author: Cyril Spasof
Cyril Spasof is's resident energy contributor. Cyril is a founding member of the team.