Jargon Buster

We have put together a jargon buster containing a number of specialist terms that are used throughout our website. If you are still unsure about anything and want to speak to a member of the team please call 0800 907 0006.

Power, measured is kW (kilo-watts) is the rate at which energy is being used. Power is related to energy but not the same.


Energy, measured in kWh (kilo-watt hours) is the standard unit for electricity bills. A kWh typically costs around 10-14p and is the amount of energy used by a one kilowatt device left on for one hour. For example, a kettle has a power of around 3kW. If it were used continuously for one hour it would cost between 30p and 42p. A PC uses around 1.5p per hour.

The monetary cost of running a device or building. This is dependent on the energy used and the rate charged by the electricity supplier.
Peak Cost / Off-Peak Cost
Many electricity providers charge higher rates at peak times of the day. These rates can be found on your electricity bill.
Carbon / CO2
Generating electricity produces CO2 (carbon dioxide). CO2 is a major cause of global warming. Using one kW of energy produces 0.54kg of CO2.
Voltage, measured in Volts, is a key component of Power and Energy. In the UK the voltage is typically 240V.
Amps (or amperes) are the units of current. Current is the other key component of power. As the voltage in the UK remains the same (240v), power, energy, cost, and CO2 are all proportional to the current.
Power Factor
Power Factor is caused by devices such as motors, lifts, refrigeration equipment etc. It can waste energy and annoy your electricity supplier. It can be corrected using power factor correction equipment (see also Resistive Power and Reactive Power).
Phase Balance
Phase balance is a term used to describe how even the loads (amps) are on a 3-phase system. If one or two phases are significantly higher than the other this can lead to inefficiency and energy wasted. An electrician can balance loads for you.
Baseline Load
The typical minimum power loading for you site (normally when unoccupied or overnight).
Resistive Power & Reactive Power
Electricity companies charge for Resistive Power (measured in kWh) and this is typically what people mean when they say ‘power’. However, where a Power Factor is present, a Reactive Power will also exist. This Reactive Power does not get used but does get measured. Reactive Power can waste energy and annoy your electricity supplier.
Distribution Board (DB) & MCB
The box, typically located in an electrical cupboard or room, which contains MCBs. MCBs are the modern equivalent of fuses and allow the circuit to be reset once tripped.
Voltage Optimisation
The process of reducing the voltage entering a building to reduce the total power used by the building. May also include equipment to reduce Harmonics.
Small fluctuations in the voltage and current that cause an electrical system to work less efficiently. They are cause by large equipment such as motors, lifts, welding equipment etc. Can be rectified using specialist equipment.


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