Demystifying the UK energy industry: A B2B marketers’ guide

Last updated: 10th June 2024

Feeling lost in the labyrinth of UK energy jargon? You're not alone. As B2B marketing experts with a passion for the energy sector, we understand the struggle. Both marketing and the energy industry are rife with acronyms and technical terms that can leave audiences confused.

Imagine trying to explain your vital energy messages when your audience is busy deciphering MPANs and DNOs. This guide cuts through the jargon jungle, providing clear explanations for the most common terms. 

Why ditch the energy speak?

Confused customers don’t convert. When your messaging is riddled with acronyms and technical terms, potential clients may switch off. They want to understand the value you offer, not decipher a cryptic puzzle. Also, jargon can stifle the creativity of your marketing campaigns.

The golden rules of simple B2B messaging

Before we look at some of the most common words and phrases in the energy and utilities world, there are four golden rules to consider that can help you simplify your B2B messaging:

  1. Focus on benefits: Don’t just list features or technical specifications. Explain how your product or service solves your clients’ energy or utilities woes. Are you helping them reduce costs? Increase efficiency? Meet sustainability goals? Speak their language and describe their desired outcomes.
  2. Use plain language: Imagine you’re in the pub after work and you’re telling a friend what you’ve written about today. How would you explain it? Use everyday language your audiences can grasp.
  3. Make visuals your ally: Sometimes a picture – in the form of charts, infographics or diagrams – is truly worth a thousand words. Use graphics to break down complex concepts in a clear and engaging way. 
  4. Know your audience: Tailor your message to your audience’s specific needs and knowledge base. Are you talking to a seasoned energy manager, or a business owner unfamiliar with the industry? Cater your communication accordingly.
  5. Remember that clarity is king: Above all, prioritise clarity. Don’t be afraid to rewrite, simplify and test your message. Ensure it’s crystal clear and easy to understand for your target audience. 

Essential energy terms explained (A–Z)

Sometimes, jargon is simply unavoidable. However, it doesn’t have to be scary or confusing, nor make your marketing campaigns as dull as dishwater. 

When jargon can’t be avoided, it can be a good idea to simply explain it, providing your audience with a quick, easy definition. To make this task easier, we’ve provided a list of some of the most common terms in the energy and utilities industry – with a clear and straightforward definition. 

A

  1. AMR (advanced meter reading): Meters that automatically transmit readings to suppliers. Unlike smart meters, which have two-way communication between the customer and supplier, AMR meters can only communicate from the customer to the supplier.  
  2. Anaerobic digestion (AD): The process of breaking down organic waste to produce biogas, a renewable fuel.
  3. AQ (annual quantity): A gas meter’s annual consumption (kWh).
  4. Availability (kVA): The maximum electricity a grid can supply to a meter in a 30-minute period.

B

  1. Balancing mechanism: The system that ensures electricity supply meets demand at any given moment.
  2. Base load: The constant minimum electricity demand the grid must meet.
  3. Biomass: Organic matter – like wood or agricultural waste – that is broken down through anaerobic digestion to produce energy.
  4. Biofuel: Fuel that is produced from biomass, such as corn ethanol, biodiesel and biogas.
  5. Big six: The six largest UK energy suppliers (often used interchangeably with “large energy suppliers”).

C

  1. Capacity market: A market for securing future electricity generation capacity.
  2. CHP (combined heat and power): The process of generating electricity and heat simultaneously.
  3. Contango: A market situation where future prices are higher than spot prices.
  4. DC (data collector): The person responsible for collecting and processing energy meter data.

D

  1. Demand side response (DSR): Encouraging consumers to adjust electricity use based on grid needs.
  2. DESNZ: The UK Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.
  3. Distribution network operator (DNO): A licenced company that manages and maintains the electricity distribution network.
  4. DUoS and TNUoS: Electricity charges that cover UK distribution network maintenance and upgrades. They apply to business energy users. 

E

  1. Embedded generation: Electricity generation connected directly to the local distribution network.
  2. Energy efficiency: Reducing energy consumption without compromising service.

F

  1. Feed-in Tariff (FiT): A government scheme encouraging renewable energy generation by offering payments for electricity fed back to the grid.

G

  1. Green tariff: An tariff for energy sourced from renewable sources like wind or solar.

H

  1. Half-hourly (HH) data: Electricity meter readings taken every 30 minutes.

M

  1. Meter operator (MOP): The company that provides and maintains your electricity meter and communication infrastructure.
  2. Microgeneration: Small-scale electricity generation, often at a domestic level (e.g. solar panels).
  3. MPAN (Meter point administration number): Unique identifier for an electricity supply point.
  4. MPRN (Meter point reference number): Unique identifier for a gas supply point.

N

  1. National Grid ESO: Electricity system operator, it manages the high-voltage electricity transmission system in Great Britain.
  2. Net zero: The goal of achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emissions released and removed from the atmosphere.
  3. Non-half hourly (NHH) data: Electricity meter readings taken less frequently than 30 minutes.

O

  1. Ofgem: The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, regulating the energy sector in the UK.

P

  1. PPA (power purchase agreement): A long-term contract to purchase electricity from a specific generator.
  2. Renewable energy certificates (RECs): Tradable certificates representing the environmental benefits of renewable electricity.

R

  1. Renewables obligation (RO)/Contracts for difference (CfD): Government schemes supporting renewable energy generation.

S

  1. Smart meter: An advanced meter that provides real-time energy usage data to consumers and suppliers.

T

  1. Triads: The three peak electricity demand periods in each winter. They impact energy costs.
  2. Trigeneration: Simultaneous generation of electricity, heat and cooling.

U

  1. Unit charge/standing charge: The two components of your energy bill – a unit charge for the energy you use, and a standing charge for meter maintenance and other upkeep or upgrade work.

W

  1. Wholesale market: The market where electricity is traded before reaching consumers.

Beyond this guide: Crafting powerful B2B marketing copy

You’re not always going to be able to avoid using industry jargon, but the key takeaway is to prioritise clear, concise language that your audience understands.

If you need any help creating clear and punchy copy for your energy or utilities B2B marketing, contact The Marketing Pod’s content team here.



N.B. The information contained in this entry is provided by the above supplier, and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher


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