Glossary of Electricity Terms
There are currently 23 terms in this directory
Anytime tariffs are where your general electricity usage is charged at the same rate regardless of when you use it. This is in contrast to Time Of Use tariffs where rates vary depending on the time of day you use electricity.’
A Benefit Period is the duration that benefits such as fixed or discounted usage and/or supply charges apply. Benefit Periods are usually 12 or 24 months but can be as much as 36 or even 60 months. At the end of the benefit period the retailer may offer another plan or move you to a standing offer where no discounts apply.
A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for or balance out the emission made in generating the electricity you consume. Offsets may come from renewable energy, tree planting, energy efficiency measures etc.
The contract term is the period of time that you are contractually obliged to stay on an electricity plan. If you decide to change or cancel the plan before the contract term ends, exit fees may need to be paid to the retailer.
Controlled Loads refers to “off-peak” hot water systems, pool pumps, in-floor heating or other appliances that are connected to a dedicated circuit and metered separately to your general household usage. Check your bill to see whether you have Controlled Load 1 or 2 or both.
These electricity tariffs consist of an anytime/flat rate or Time Of Use charged per kWh (kilowatt hour) of electricity consumed and a second additional demand charge related to the maximum kilowatt demand measured over a 30 or 60 minute period during certain time periods or months e.g. 3:00PM to 9:00PM on work days only in November to March. The demand component is usually charged based on a cents per kWh or kVA per day basis.
Exit fees are amounts that must be paid by the electricity consumer to the retailer when a electricity contract is ended before the contract period expires.
Feed-in tariffs in Australia are payments made by retailers or various State schemes to non-commercial producers (including households and businesses) of electricity generated by solar photovoltaic (PV) systems using solar panels
Fixed Rate Plans
Some plans lock or fix the rates you are charged for electricity usage for a set benefit period – usually 12 or 24 months. Fixed rate plans can be more expensive initially than variable rate plans from the same retailer but may be cheaper if there are significant price rises during the benefit period.
Refers to the general consumption element of single rate tariff plans. Also referred to as anytime usage or peak usage.
GreenPower is the only voluntary government accredited program that enables your electricity provider to purchase renewable energy on your household’s or business’ behalf. You can view GreenPower rates for each retailer here. For more information on the GreenPower scheme see the GreenPower web site.
Plans that offer a guaranteed discount mean that you will receive a discount on usage and/or supply charges without having to meet any conditions such as paying on time. These are sometimes referred to as unconditional discounts.
kVA is an abbreviation of kilovolt amp which is a unit of measurement for apparent power used for Demand/Capacity charges on some business tariffs.
kWh is an abbreviation for kilowatt hour and is the common unit of measurement for electricity usage.
This is the general term used for discounted electricity plans and normally includes all plans that are not standing offers. These plans usually have time restrictions on the discounts e.g. benefit period. At the end of the period the retailer may offer you another market offer or move you to their (non-discounted) Standing Offer.
Refers to the electricity consumed during the off-peak time period of time of use (TOU) or flexible tariff plans.
Pay On Time Discount
Most plans that offer a discount require you to pay your bill by the due date or you will not receive the discount. These discounts are called Pay On Time discounts.
Refers to the electricity consumed during the peak time period of time of use (TOU) or flexible tariff plans.
Retailer Green Rating
An independent, unbiased ranking of the environmental performance of retailers selling electricity to Australian households called the Green Electricity Guide prepared by Greenpeace and the Total Environment Centre. The Retailer Green Ratings were produced in 2015 and again in 2018.
Refers to the electricity consumed during the shoulder time period of time of use (TOU) or flexible tariff plans.
Solar PV refers to a solar photovoltaic system that uses a series of panels to convert light energy into electricity. Not to be confused with solar hot water systems that use encased copper pipes or evacuated tubes to use heat from the sun to heat hot water.
This is the default electricity plan for each retailer. They usually have the highest rates and no discounts. Standing offers are what some retailers will move you to at the end of the benefit period of their market offer (discounted) plans.
Time Of Use tariff
Time Of Use tariffs refer to a group of different tariffs where electricity is charged at different rates depending on the time of day and day of the week. The different time periods vary based on your electricity network. There can be multiple rates, usually either two-rate (Peak and Off-Peak) or three-rate (Peak, Shoulder and Off-Peak). In Victoria, three rate tariffs are called Flexible tariffs. Click here to view Time Of Use periods by Electricity Network