by Michael Doyle

Ofgem is the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, supporting the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, and the government regulator for the electricity and downstream natural gas marketing in Great Britain. They were formed by the merger of the Office of Electricity Regulation (OFFER) and Office of Gas Supply (Ofgas).

A smart meter is an advanced meter that can digitally send meter readings to your energy supplier ensuring more accurate bills. Smart meters also provide monitors to provide you with knowledge and intelligence regarding your actual energy usage in pounds and pence.

A kilowatt-hour is a derived unit of energy commonly used as a billing unit. For electricity this is calculated from the power used in kilowatts multiplied by the time in hours. Gas is a little more complicated and the kWh is calculated by including conversion factors for the meter type and calorific value of the actual gas you receive.

This is a charge levied by the UK’s regional DSO (Distribution System Operation) going towards the operation, maintenance and development of electricity distribution networks. Simply put, this covers the cost of substations and underground cables which supply your meter with electricity. This cost can be reduced by reducing load requirements during peak times.

This is a charge based on geographical zone that recovers the cost of installing and maintaining the transmission system. TNUos tariffs are updated annually. This covers the cost of the supplying electricity from the generators to the distribution system, basically the pylons you see across the country.

Triads are defined as the three half-hours of highest demand on the UK electricity transmission system between November and February each year. By reducing consumption at a time that may coincide with one or all of these half-hours, overall energy bills can be reduced. This is possible due to a multiple being applied to network charges based on average demand at these times.

DSR is about intelligent energy use. Consumers can turn up, turn down or shift demand in real time being rewarded financially through special tariffs and schemes. DSR is an important part of the vision for a flexible energy system helping to soften peaks in demand and fill in the troughs, especially at times when power is more abundant, affordable and clean. The quicker you can respond the higher the payment.

Changes to the water market took effect on 1st April 2017 which means most businesses and organisations in England (and Scotland) can now choose the water company they want to supply their retail water services. This can provide benefits including lower price, consolidated billing, improved customer service and overall greater control over water management.